As Europe’s worst refugee crisis since World War II spirals out of control, an Egyptian billionaire is offering his own bizarre solution. According to the International Business Times, Naguib Sawiris is considering purchasing an uninhabited Mediterranean island to temporarily house people fleeing from Syria, Libya, and other war-ravaged nations.
Sawiris, a telecom magnate and the third wealthiest man in Egypt, made the comments via his Twitter account:
Greece or Italy sell me an island,ill call its independence and host the migrants and provide jobs for them building their new country— Naguib Sawiris (@NaguibSawiris) September 1, 2015
Crazy idea .. Maybe but at least temporary until they can return to their countries ??!!— Naguib Sawiris (@NaguibSawiris) September 1, 2015
While some questioned whether his money would be better spent funding existing refugee agencies, Sawiris defended his idea.
“Of course it’s feasible,” he told AFP. “You have dozens of islands which are deserted and could accommodate hundreds of thousands of refugees.”
The billionaire envisioned building “temporary shelters to house the people, then you start employing the people to build housing, schools, universities, hospitals.”
“And if things improve, whoever wants to go back (to their homeland) goes back,” said Sawiris. “The way they are being treated now, they are being treated like cattle.”
Sawiris estimated an Island off the coast of Italy or Greece would cost between $10 and $100 million. But considering he has an estimated net worth of $2.9 billion, money isn’t the biggest issue.
Since the crisis began, 350,000 migrants have attempted to cross the Mediterranean in order to reach Europe. An estimated 2,600 people have died.