A former three-star resort lies in ruins after hundreds of refugees were evicted following protests from neighbors.
Authorities in Cyprus have started deporting around 600 asylum seekers from a run-down apartment complex near the resort of Paphos.
Aerial views of the former St. Nicolas Elegant Residence buildings show the once thriving resort now being overtaken by garbage.
Stacks of plastic bags, crates, groceries and other personal belongings flood the dried-up pool and spill into the spaces between each block of flats.
The yellow walls that once brightened the resort are now covered in graffiti.
Inside, improvised bedrooms and houses replace the once luxurious accommodations.
The eviction came after protests from residents and allegations of electricity theft, police officers said.
“Staff are in the area and have cordoned off the complex and started registering all foreigners who have settled in the specific complex in Chloraka,” Paphos Police spokesman Michalis Nicolaou said.
He added that the asylum seekers would be registered and taken to a migrant reception center for processing to determine if they had the right to remain on the Mediterranean island.
Police are executing an eviction order issued in November 2020 but not implemented.
State broadcaster CyBC said around 150 migrants had exited the complex before the police operation began at 3am Monday.
The government said those illegally staying on the island would be deported, while legal residents would have two weeks to find alternative accommodation.
According to the 2020 decree, the Ayios Nikolaos apartment complex should have been closed for health and safety reasons.
Tensions erupted between the asylum seekers and residents of the small community of Chlorakas, who protested and called for the homes to be evicted.
The problem resurfaced after the state electric utility cut power to the complex and placed the local substation under surveillance.
Around 100 migrants protested last week demanding to be housed elsewhere.
The police anti-riot unit used tear gas against the demonstrators.
Cyprus, a member of the European Union, argues it is a “front country” on the Mediterranean migrant route, as asylum seekers make up five percent of the 915,000 people living in government-controlled areas of the island – the highest proportion in the union.