By Angelos Anastasiou
DESPITE leaving parts of Cyprus with serious damage, Tuesday’s deluge has done little to alleviate the island’s dramatic water shortage, as more of the same – or even worse – is expected over the coming weekend.
Speaking on state radio, Kokkinotrimithia council leader Christakis Meleties described the torrent’s aftermath, which included serious damage to buildings and the road network, children trapped in flooded homes and the village’s primary school, and families forced to spend the night at friends’ and relatives’ homes.
“Basically, the entire village was flooded,” he said. “In some instances, the Fire Service had to rescue children trapped in their flooded homes and at the school – thankfully, they all went home fine at noon.”
“That problem was solved, but some 10 or 15 homes were flooded – people’s property was destroyed,” he added. “These families spent the night in relatives’ homes, and (yesterday) delegations from the District Office and the Interior ministry arrived so that we could assess the damage and see what the law affords these people.”
“It looks like there are some funds somewhere in the ministry’s budget for such instances that can cover the rent for these people until their homes are restored.”
Meleties said the village’s rapid – and uncontrolled – expansion in recent years translated into imperfect planning, which is currently being restored.
“This was an unprecedented event – I can’t blame anyone,” he said. “As of the last census, Kokkinotrimithia has been growing by as much as 30 per cent. So, you realise that such expansion may have led to some services falling behind.”
“But everything can be fixed,” he added. “We have put in a request with the Public Works department to review the Kokkinotrimithia highway, and the knowledge we have acquired during the storm will help us create drains to divert the water away.”
But the unusual amount of rainfall, according to senior official at the Water Works Andreas Manoli, has had little impact on dam levels.
“Unfortunately, the only inflow that might be considered of some import is the one in Kourris dam, which amounted to 50,000 cubic metres –equal to the consumption of an average winter day in broader Nicosia,” he said. “The situation remains dire as reservoir capacity is currently at 27 per cent, compared with this time last year’s 56 per cent.”
“The drought that started early in 2013 continues unabated, if not turning worse, at least as regards reservoir inflows,” he added.
“The situation can only be compared with 2008, which was thus far considered our rock-bottom. I must say, in terms of reservoir inflows, 2013 has been the worst year on record.”
But the island should brace for more over the weekend, even as temperatures hover around the seasonal average, meteorological official Panayiotis Mouskos told state radio.
“Temperature should not be a factor in the coming days,” Mouskos said. “It has been, and is forecast to be, on par with the seasonal average.”
“But it looks like another wave of bad weather is expected as of Friday,” he said. “It should be comparable with Tuesday’s – and perhaps somewhat worse.”