Egyptian Billionaire Offers to Buy Mediterranean Island for Syrian Refugees

Leah Barkoukis
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Posted: Sep 04, 2015 3:00 PM
Egyptian Billionaire Offers to Buy Mediterranean Island for Syrian Refugees

What to do about Syria refugee crisis, which has overwhelmed the country’s poorer neighbors like Jordan and Lebanon and caused a crisis in European countries? One Egyptian billionaire has offered a temporary solution: buy a deserted Mediterranean island for them.

Egyptian billionaire Naguib Sawiris has offered his own solution to help solve the growing migrant crisis. Sawiris wants to buy a Mediterranean Island to allow refugees a temporary shelter until a long-term solution can be found.

Sawiris is considering approaching the governments of Greece and Italy to possibly buy an island to help migrants fleeing from conflict zones, like Syria.

The billionaire tweeted that he could “host the migrants and provide jobs for them building their new country.” It might be a “crazy idea” he admitted, but said it could work “until they can return to their countries??!!”

In an interview with AFP, Sawiris said the plan is certainly feasible.

“You have dozens of islands which are deserted and could accommodate hundreds of thousands of refugees … [as] temporary shelters to house the people, then you start employing the people to build housing, schools, universities, hospitals,” he said.

“And if things improve, whoever wants to go back [to their country] goes back.”

Sawiris’ concern is that the migrants are treated with dignity as “human beings,” not “like cattle” as they are now, he explained.

Regardless of how feasible the billionaire’s plan really is, it’s clear that he wants to use his wealth to help people, which in and of itself is commendable, especially considering the Arab world’s wealthiest nations are doing nothing to help Syria’s refugees.