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Cyprus; it follows that Cyprus presents attractions for the establishment of winter Sanataria superior to those afforded by Italy, France, Spain, or Algiers. It is to be noted also that at this season the rainfall is moderate, being not much different in amount from that of London, but it falls much seldomer; three days out of every four being without any rain at all.
"The summers are, in common with those of the coasts of Algeria, South Italy, South Greece, and South Asia Minor very hot and rainless, and must therefore be exposed to an increased unhealthiness and mortality from bowel complaints and other diseases incident to climates where the mean temperature reaches 81°5. But Cyprus presents in its varied surface, which rises to heights of several thousand feet above the sea, culminating in Mount Olympus, 6,590 feet high, admirable facilities for the establishment of summer Sanataria among its mountains, just as has been done in India among the Himalaya Mountains and Neilgherry Hills. Though we have no definite information regarding the summer climates of the highlands of Cyprus there can be no doubt, reasoning from the meteorology of the region of the Caucasus, and from remarks scattered through Mr. Sandwith,s Meteorological Journals, that in addition to a lower temperature due simply to the greater height, showers of rain, with and without thunder, are not of unfrequent occurrence among the mountains of Cyprus in summer.
"It must be clearly understood that in the above remarks, reference has been made only to atmospheric conditions as determining the healthiness or unhealthiness of the climate. There are, it is scarcely necessary to say, other conditions affecting the health of a country than merely its atmospheric conditions. These, in a country like Cyprus, are chiefly those malarious and noxious elements which find their way into the atmosphere from lands once cultivated, but now allowed to lie uncultivated, and from lands where the drainage is more or less defective. It follows therefore that much may be done in mitigation of the effects of the summer heat by the establishment of Sanataria among the mountains and by carrying through agricultural improvements and engineering works which would at the same time contribute to the material prosperity of the island."
It will be observed that the above valuable report of the Scottish Meteorological Society refers entirely to the south coast of Cyprus, in the neighbourhood of Larnaca; and we have at hand no such detailed and accurate information regarding the climate of the interior, and of the north coast of the island; but, according to all accounts, the temperature at each season varies very considerably in different parts of the island, being affected by the features of the physical geography. Thus, in the central plains, the heat in summer is stated to be excessive, the winters here are mild, and snow is of rare occurrence. At Nicosia, though the summer nights are believed to be cooler than at Larnaca, the summer generally is hotter, and the winter colder, than at the latter place. At Famagusta the heat is reported to be still greater, owing to the sandy soil which prevails there.
On the northeni shore, the summers are far more temperate, in consequence of the winds blowing from the snow-covered mountains of Asia Minor; for the same reason the winters are here often piercingly cold, particularly on the mountains, which are generally covered with snow for several months. The snow also lies during the cold weather upon the southern, or Olympus, range. The country bordering the south and east coasts, consisting of a white chalk marl (which in summer produces a great glare), is sheltered by mountains from north and north-west winds, but is exposed to the full blast of hot winds from the Syrian, Arabian, and Lybian deserts, consequently this part of the island has a very high temperature. The table giving the percentage of wind direction, shows that during the summer months, the wmds blow chiefly from the south, south-east, and south-west; these winds are unhealthy and scorching, and have an injurious effect upon vegetation. During the summer the " irribatto " or sea-breeze is, fortunately, tolerably regular, and to a certain extent, mitigates the heat; it generally commences at about 8 A.m. and lasts until 3 or 6 P.m., then there is an interval of calm till the land-breeze makes at about one or two
o'clock in the morning, and continues until about sunrise. The ^
imbatto is mostly felt on the north-west part of the island, and the
land-breeze on the south-west. About the middle of September «*
these breezes usually cease, and the heat is then very trying. «->
Another climatoriat source of unhealthiness is the cessation of rainfall during the summer; this is distinctly indicated in the foregoing table, which shows that during June, July and August, there is as a rule absolutely no rain whatever, and that this rainless period sometimes extends over both May and September. This want of rain must, however, not be confounded with the droughts which occasionally occur during the winter season, and which, as is afterwards explained, may be traced to an entirely distinct cause, quite apart from the climate.*
We now pass on to the consideration of the various local insanitary conditions, all of which may be removed by active and systematic hygienic measures. .
First then, the malaria, which is the cause of unhealthiness in Materia re- „
certain districts and towns, notably in and round Larnaca and JjJeJSjTM",
Again, there can be little doubt that the reckless and wasteful Droughts
* The nature of tho soil in Cyprus makes a largo rainfall unnecessary i the arerage o' about tbirtoon inches is quite sufficient to produce a fair grain crop.
scarcity of trees.
drought in the winter of 1869.
destruction of the forests which, according to report, once nearly covered Cyprus, has exercised a pernicious influence upon the climate, and has wrought much sanitary mischief, inasmuch as it is the chief cause of the droughts from which the country suffers 60 severely about every fifth year. It is a recognized fact, especially in sub-tropical regions, that where the mountains are clothed with wood, rains fall frequently and moderately, the air is kept pool and the land is fertilized. But, when the forests are cut down, there are long intervals of drought followed by torrents, of rain, which wash the vegetable mould off the slopes into the plains, leaving on the one hand bare rocks, arid on the other, miasmabreeding marshes. That the summer months should be rainless, is, as Mr. Buchan has remarked, a characteristic of the regions surrounding Cyprus, but the occasional lack of rain during the winter months may perhaps be attributable to the present treeless condition of so great a part of the island. This subject is further entered into in Chapter VII.
A notable instance of drought occurred in the winter of 186970, when the rainfall was as follows :—
Roiults of drought.
Total 414 „
Of this total quantity, no less than 218 inches fell on the thirteen days from the 15th to 28th January, leaving a little less than two inches for the rest of the six months. During the period of drought north winds were very prevalent.
Such droughts as these not only occasion sickness amongst the inhabitants, but have also the most disastrous effects upon both live stock and agriculture. It may be useful to instance some of the results. Consul Lang reported in 1871, that, in consequence of the drought, the whole of the grain crops of the previous year had been a total failure, and that instead of exporting, as is usually the case, a surplus produce of grain, the island was under the necessity of importing largely for the food of the inhabitants. The year 18y0 will long be remembered in Cyprus as one of severe distress. Forage was so scarce,* that as early as July, 1870, onethird of the bullocks in the island had died of starvation, or had been sold for shipment to Egypt; and at the close of the year it was estimated that only one-third of the live stock of 1869 remained available for agricultural purposes. Bullocks were sold as low as 10s. per head, and sheep at Is. 8d. Thus the agricultural interest of the island received a severe blow, and one which it will require a long time to repair.
Consul Riddell, writing in April, 1874, remarks another consequence of drought, which was noticed in that year. He says:" the pasturage having heen early dried up by the drought, the flocks were reduced to a very poor condition, and the rapid growth of new grass which succeeded the first rains, produced great mortality among the sheep by the sudden change."
* In 1868 and 18G9, large supplies had been sent out of the island by Gorornment for the requirements of the army and a needy population in Crete, consequently the place was in exceptionally disadvantageous circumstances to meet this unparalleled drought.
That the planting of trees, and the careful preservation of such woods as still remain, would soon work wonders in the way of sanitary improvement, is the opinion of many medical and scientific men; several competent authorities have suggested the planting of the Eucalyptus globulus, which has been attended with great success in Algeria and other places. Some of the peculiar properties of this tree are described by Mr. P. Hinckes Bird, F.R.C.S., F.I.S., from whom the following remarks are quoted:—
"I would suggest the advantage that might accrue from freely planting the eucalyptus globulus, or Australian blue gum tree, as has been done in marshy districts at the Cape of Good Hope, in Cuba, France, Italy, and Algeria. Its growth is remarkably rapid, and some interesting instances are given of its salutary action—in Algeria by Consul Playfair—in improving unhealthy districts and in dissipating the miasmatic influences which created such havoc among the colonists in the first years after the conquest. It is stated that a locality so unhealthy existed between Nice and Monaco that the Paris, Lyons, and Mediterranean Kailway Company were obliged to change every two or three months a watchman at a crossing there j but after plantations of the eucalyptus were formed, the same watchman has resided there with his family without experiencing the least inconvenience. Other instances of its beneficial action might be cited.
Besides giving out antiseptic camphorous emanations, nnd thus increasing the quantity of 07.0110 in the air, it absorbs large quantities of water by its roots, facilitating the drainage of a marshy district .
It is said to be also so effectual a remedy against the lively, horn-blowing, blood-sucking mosquito, that a single pot plant of eucalyptus sufficed to keep a chamber free from these pests."
It has been stated that, apart from droughts, there is a scarcity Water supply, of water in Cyprus, but since our acquaintance with the island has become more extensive, it does not appear that this statement is entirely supported by facts. It Would perhaps be more accurate to assert that hitherto there has been shameful waste and loss of water which would have been of the highest value both from a sanitary and an agricultural point of view, and that this waste has, even in ordinary seasons, frequently led to the supply becoming for a time limited; but with a watershed like the Olympus range traversing the island from West to East, and with the several abundant springs which have already been enumerated, it is difficult to believe that with proper precautions, water could be really scarce; and, indeed all reports, whether from Larnaca, Nicosia, or Limasol, which have been received since the arrival of the British troops, agree in the statement that water is plentiful, and of good quality;" it is also said that in many parts of the island, water is found in abundance at a depth of 18 feet.f The neglect of the river beds has been already noticed; not only is the water allowed to break through the banks and run to waste, but the local farmers often
* For instance, we hear that the coTered aqueduct at the camp near Larnaca, gives 4,000 gallons nn hour, t See also the Chapter npon the Geology of Cyprus, page 114.
contrive to conduct the water on to their lands, and this operation being generally effected in a most unskilful manner, the full benefit of the stream is not obtained, and great loss of water results. Tanks, to be filled by rain-water during the winter, might with advantage be constructed in several localities, and the whole regulation of the water supply is a very important matter, and one to which engineering talent might bo applied with very great benefit to the island. Defective The defective drainage of the towns has hitherto naturally been
drainage. one 0f tne principal causes of unhealthiness, and of diseases which
are often wrongly attributed to the climate. That the chief towns will now be thoroughly cleansed, and a systematic set of sanitary measures adopted, is a matter of course; these precautions together with a more rigorous and effective quarantine than has hitherto existed, may be expected to work a vast improvement in the health of the inhabitants. The present state of Nicosia, the capital, may be mentioned as a proof of the want of drainage; it is stated the ground on which the city stands is sodden with the sewage of centuries; there is no fall of ground, so that the rain can wash nothing away, and there is not a drain in the whole place. All the sewage that does not remain on the service, percolates into cesspools, which are never emptied, and which are almost invariably in close proximity to wells. No offal, refuse, garbage, or manure is ever removed, the most that is done is to throw it up in heaps, which are left to reek in the hot sun, and spread disease over the neighbourhood. Perhaps all the towns are not quite so bad as this; the accounts of Limasol, for instance, are of an infinitely more cheering nature, but evidently there is still much work to be done before they can be thoroughly cleansed and purified. Poncliuion^. It appears, on the whole, that the climate of Cyprus is not
really so bad as has been asserted by many people who have based their opiuion either upon a short visit to the island during the worst season of the year, or upon mere hearsay. Numerous residents of long standing are unanimous in saying that the inhabitants enjoy good, and even robust, health, that they are subject to but few ailments, and generally live to a great age. The fevers which are prevalent in July and August, are but seldom of a malignant or dangerous type, and by proper care and attention tx) diet they may be avoided. It is found that the fevers usually attack those who indulge in an over-abundant diet of cucumbers, melons, and fruits, but comparatively seldom affect those who can afford better nourishment. Inflammations, agues, and fevers also frequently arise from imprudent exposure to either sun or wind, and from sleeping at night in the open air, or near the marshes, and this risk ought to be carefully guarded against. Ophthalmia is said to be common; it may, however, be attributed not only to the glare from the white soil, but also in a great degree to want of cleanliness on the part of the natives. Sunstroke must be guarded against; the inhabitants take great precautions, enveloping their heads in large turbans and shawls.
On the other hand, epidemics are of rare occurrence in the island; Captain Farrant, R.N. has written upon this subject, and