By Evie Andreou
Drivers trapped in their flooded cars were among more than 70 callers to the fire service on Tuesday after heavy storms swept over the Nicosia district.
All the capital’s rescue services, including volunteers, were recruited to respond to calls for help during the morning storm.
“Most cases concerned pumping water from flooded establishments and rescuing people trapped in their cars due to
the high level of water in the streets,” fire service spokeswoman Lisa Kemidji said.
She added that the Civil Defence was also asked to assist, as were municipalities and volunteers from the Emergency Rescue Unit ETEA.
The most affected areas were Latsia, Strovolos and Nicosia centre.
Many shopkeepers in the old part of Nicosia spent their mornings sweeping water out of their shops and called the fire service in to pump water out of basements where much of their stock is kept, considerable amounts of which were ruined by the water.
Co-owner of Loksandra restaurant Marios Demetriou said he found about 30cm of water pooling in the kitchen in a problem that has been recurring for the last 19 years.
The water level in the next-door shop’s basement was about 40cm, while several shops in Socratous street were also flooded.
In their effort to salvage their merchandise, some shop owners had even put sand bags at the entrance of their shop but without any success.
“They [municipality] know what the problem is, water flows in from the old GSP stadium area, and it pools in this area here. When they paved the area, they installed smaller sewage pipes and now every time it rains for more than twenty minutes we are flooded,” said one shop owner, Andreas Ioannou.
“They know this for so many years, at some point you cannot do anything else but stand there watching the water flood the shop,” said Eliana Ioannou from a nearby clothes shop.
“The problem is that there is lack of pavements in many areas and lack of drainage systems but our goal is to continue to create the infrastructure needed to avoid such issues,” Nicosia municipality spokesman Makis Nicolaides said.
Nicosia police chief Demetris Demetriou said many streets were flooded and were closed for some time and that the Pedieos river, that runs through Nicosia, overflowed in the Klimataria area of Strovolos.
He also said trees fell on electricity lines causing power cut in some areas for a few hours.
The bad weather also caused several road accidents although none of them were serious.
The met office said the storms were set to continue for much of the day on Tuesday and Wednesday morning while they are likely to dry up in the afternoon.
While the weather will be cloudy on Thursday the rain is not set to return until Friday with local rain and storms until Saturday afternoon.
Photos: Christos Theodorides