June 16th, 2019

Flooding cause anger and grief

After a night of rain almost islandwide, which continued into much of yesterday causing countless problems to homes, shops and drivers, the met office says there will be little let up until Friday, and that will be brief.

Shopkeepers, already hit by recession, are angry at being fed the same old lines year after year when it rains, as they spent another morning yesterday clearing mud from their damaged premises.

Fire services received 16 distress calls yesterday morning, six in Limassol, five in Larnaca, three in Nicosia and two in Paphos involving flooded basements, and drivers stuck in their cars in flooded streets.And there's more to come in next few days.

Just over two weeks into the month, the amount of rain which has fallen so far has already surpassed the average total in any given December. "From the last 112 Decembers, this one ranks as 46th," said meteorological officer Marios Theofilou.

He said Cyprus could expect more of the same until Friday when the weather will be fine but the weekend would bring more rain, he said.

Police have asked the public to be cautious, maintain a safe distance while driving and keep their lights on at all times. A number of roads in mountainous areas now pose a safety risk from potential landslides and fog, police said.

This includes roads from Alassa to Platres, Trimiklinis - Amiantos - Karvouna, and Yerasas - Kalo Chorio - Zoopiyis - Agros and roads to and from Kakopetria village.

One driver in Paphos was almost swept away by a torrent, as a river between Nata and Choletra swelled. He managed to get out of the car and reach the riverbank before the flood carried his car towards the Asprokremmos reservoir. Authorities have closed the road.

Roads and local shops in Paphos' Latchi flooded from heavy rain, which began Monday night when a river flowing from the areas of Droushia and Androlykou overflowed, rising above a small bridge at the entrance of Latchi. Houses also flooded in neighbouring Polis Chrysochous, police said.

Local shopkeepers said that they are flooded wherever it rains and blamed the authorities for consistently failing to take precautionary measures to remove part of the bridge's structure that stops the river from flowing.

The structure was added as part of a path for cyclists and pedestrians, Polis Chrysochous mayor Angelos Odysseos said, blaming the state for failing to heed his requests to have it removed. The municipality hired a digger to clear debris off the riverbed, Odysseos said.

"We told [the municipality] last year but they said they have no money," a shopkeeper said. "Let them quit here and now!" another woman said. "What have they been waiting for? Should people die for them to do something?"

Odysseos blamed the public works' department for a shoddy job though deputy mayor Yiotis Papachristofis told the Cyprus News agency (CNA) that the local council allegedly ignored a number of warnings.

"Despite our numerous questions to the mayor and assurances that the next winter would not bring about this problem, the problem unfortunately remains," Papachristofis said.

In Limassol, residents of the Trachoni community got stuck in cars when the entrance to the area got flooded for the second time this year.

Fire services have been pumping the water to the community's artificial lake which is however close to overfilling. "What will happen with more rain?" community leader Kyriacos Christodoulou asked.

Christodoulou said that the necessary infrastructure works were never done because of costs.

"We ask the relevant departments to find an immediate solution to this problem." Christodoulou said.

But in the meantime, Limassol mayor Andreas Christou yesterday announced that sewerage works in the Limassol areas of Tsirio and Ayia Fyla, areas that experienced two bouts of flooding ten days ago over one weekend, are due to start this year after the cabinet approved the budget. The works are expected to resolve the situation, Christou said.

In just one day, the reservoir at Argaka in Paphos, which was 74.4 full yesterday morning overflowed by evening. It is the first reservoir to overflow this winter. The dam has a capacity of 990,000 cubic metres. The smaller dam in Kalopanayiotis that holds 363,000 cubic metres is already full while almost all others are over 50 per cent full, with the biggest, the Kouris, Asprokremmos and Evretou dams edging close to full capacity.

The Pomos dam that can hold 860,000 cubic metres and was at 75.6 per cent capacity as of yesterday morning is expected to overflow today, the water development's department Vassos Socratous told CNA.

Socratous said that all reservoirs in Paphos and the rest of Cyprus were likely to overflow again this year.

And it looks like Cyprus could be having a white Christmas in the mountains. The met office has promised snow today and tomorrow.

Source: Cyprus Mail