UK Cypriot hotel owner Nitsa Michael featured on BBC TV is giving all of her rooms to Ukrainian refugees

UK Cypriot hotel owner Nitsa Michael featured on BBC TV is giving all of her rooms to Ukrainian refugees
A UK Cypriot owned Somerset hotel features on BBC breakfast as it offers all of its rooms to Ukrainian refugees

It’s now a ‘sanctuary’ to refugees fleeing war

A hotel in Weston-super-Mare has featured on BBC breakfast this morning (Monday, May 23) as it is giving all of its rooms to Ukrainian refugees.

The Seaward hotel on Knightstone Road is now closed to the public for the rest of the year as it opens all of its 54 rooms to people fleeing Russia’s invasion. Nitsa Michael, owner, said she saw the pictures of the refugees fleeing the Russians and felt compelled to act partly because of her own family’s history.

Nitsa arrived from Cyprus in the 1960s but many of her relatives also became refugees when Turkey invaded Cyprus in 1974. She remembered how her own family had fled with nothing.

Nitsa said: “They left with T-shirts and flipflops, they have nothing with them as they think they’re going back the next day and it’s been 48 years and they’re still waiting to go back. So when we heard the Ukrainians – with Russia, the war, we feel the same like we used to feel for our people as well and myself and my family decided to help if we can. We’re helping as many as we can in the hotel.”

The hotel, which has been open for the last 60 years, is now a “sanctuary” for Ukrainian people. One refugee who is housed in the hotel, Yuliia Herasymenko, recalled that on February 24 when it was “very loud and very bright” she “understood that it is war.” She left her home in south eastern Ukraine when the explosions started and is one of the first to arrive at the hotel. She said “it is a very bad situation” when talking of the war.

The hotel has now been inundated with donations, with rooms full of items ready to be used. Michelle Michael, Nitsa’s daughter, said that people had been using Google translate to get to the hotel and when they arrive “they need help”.

We are really grateful that we have got some people that can speak English as well. They are really helping us with speaking to people on WhatsApp and over the internet, just reassuring them that when they get here they’re going to be safe.”











Picture of Michael Yiakoumi

Michael Yiakoumi

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