Emergency crews worked all day Thursday to restore access to several communities cut off from heavy snowfall as islandwide efforts continued in order to clear roads leading to villages and restore power to various areas.
Police spokesman Andreas Angelides said they would be on alert overnight to attend to problems that might arise.
The number of villages cut off on Thursday morning had reached 37 overnight as snowfall continued in mountainous areas.By Thursday afternoon, authorities had cleared access to several villages but access to 19 villages was blocked because of heavy snow.
Various departments worked together throughout the day to clear roads and address other problems in the affected areas.
Power has been restored to communities that experienced cuts on Thursday and the day before.
Some communities had to do without power Wednesday night as electricity authority (EAC) technicians could not access blocked roads, EAC spokesman Costas Gavrielides said.
One EAC crew even got stuck in the Nicosia district, and had to abandon their vehicle to return to the city with police help, he said.
With the weather expected to remain bad on Friday EAC technicians would be on standby, Gavrielides said, while minor faults were to be expected. The EAC received thousands of phone calls since the bout of bad weather on Wednesday, coming to over 6,000 by Thursday afternoon. Bigger faults are automatically flagged in the system, and a crew is then sent to an impacted area, Gavrielides said.
Meanwhile, all district offices were busy clearing roads and addressing problems.
The Nicosia deputy district officer, where most of the cut-off villages are located, said roads were cleared as far as Pedhoulas by Thursday afternoon.
Marios Panayides said about 25 crews were working in various Nicosia communities alongside local authorities.
Crews were using diggers, snow ploughs, and other equipment, to clear roads leading to villages, Panayides said.
In Pedhoulas, police and the community council brought over medicines and basic food items to residents who had been cut off on Wednesday night, he said.
Limassol district had eight crews working on Thursday with diggers and graders. Officials said clearing roads was made harder because snow had packed heavy but added they had plenty of staff and equipment on standby.
The Larnaca district administration said crews were working with diggers in the villages of Vavatsinia, Odou, and Ayii to clear the roads.
The administration also sent over a grader in the Kato Drys- Chirokitia area where bad weather had created a landslide risk.
A home in Maroni was evacuated on Wednesday night when an uprooted 20-metre Cypress tree looked like it would fall on the dwelling. Volunteers, and crews from the civil defence, police and the district administration temporarily supported the tree, which had to be chopped down on Thursday.
Paphos’ district officer Yiannis Mallourides said their crew and about 10 vehicles belonging to the administration remained on standby as the bad weather left Paphos relatively unscathed.
Farmers in the Famagusta district spent the night trying to protect their crops and animals from the bitter cold although there was damage to greenhouses in the area. Agriculture ministry officials were due to inspect the cultivations. The Green party said the cost from the damage was “incalculable” and called authorities to support the farmers whose crops were destroyed.
It will continue being cold and windy throughout Cyprus with more snow forecast for mountainous areas, the met office has said. Saturday is expected to be somewhat warmer.
Latest police list of all cut off villages:
Kannavia, Milikouri, Ayia Irini, Moutoulas, Farmakas, Alona, Polystippos, Askas, Fterikoudi, Apliki, Gouri, Lazania, Macheras, Kionia, Platanistasa
Limassol district: Ayios Theodoros, Prodromos
All roads to Troodos are closed.
Several roads are closed, dangerous, and open only to four wheel vehicles that are equipped with snow chains.
Police are urging the public to avoid unnecessary travel. Check road conditions before travelling.
Announcements can be found on the force’s website: www.police.gov.cy, on their Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/cypolice) and their Twitter account (twitter.com/Cyprus_Police). (Greek only)
People can also call the hotline 1460 or the HQ on 22808080