Cyprus Mail

Owners of crumbling Pissouri homes seek UK media pressure

Homeowners in Pissouri whose homes are crumbling due to a landslide are hoping to see their story highlighted in the British press after they meet with a reporter from the UK’s high-circulation Daily Mail newspaper on Tuesday.

The journalist and a photographer are flying out to Paphos on Monday evening, after one of the residents tweeted the newspaper of their plight.

“The story of homes slipping in Armou was picked up by the British press recently and I tweeted ‘what about us?’,” homeowner, Kayt Field told the Cyprus Mail on Monday.

“The journalist contacted me and after discussion, he is coming to Cyprus and around 15 homeowners will meet with him on Tuesday.”

The publication is one of the biggest selling newspapers in the UK and one of the most popular news websites in the world.

Recently, the plight of Simon Phillips and his family whose home is slipping down a hillside in the Paphos village of Armou featured in the British press, after appearing in the Cyprus Mail.

In April, the auditor-general Odysseas Michaelides used the example of Armou as one of the reasons why the government should not compensate the Pissouri property owners.

He warned that if the Pissouri owners won compensation, it would set a precedent for property owners in areas like Armou if the state essentially assumed the responsibility of the adequacy of the structural studies.

However, Pissouri residents insist that the catastrophic damage to their properties is due to land slippage (landslide) triggered by uncontrolled groundwater belonging to the state and as such they are victims of a natural disaster and are entitled to state compensation, by law.

“We will walk the journalist around everything and he wants to speak to as many people as possible. We are really hoping this will help us,” said Field.

Residents in Pissouri are currently involved in a lengthy battle with the government for compensation.

Many homes in Pissouri have virtually collapsed, the result of a continuous and accelerating landslip. Seventeen homes are now deemed unfit for habitation.

In recent days, many more homes, roads, walls and pavements are being affected by the land slippage as the land dries out and turns to a sand like substance.

Expert reports found that the homes in the southeast of Pissouri are being destroyed by a landslide triggered by ground water.

Residents say that they are ‘beyond angry’ at the government’s ‘blatant lies’ to try and seemingly wash their hands of the situation, and of trying to pass the blame on to the developers for the crumbling homes.

“We want to put pressure on the government to stop lying and saying that there isn’t a landslide problem here. How could all of these developers be wrong? There are tens of different developers in the area. The state is responsible for the groundwater and allowing the building of 1,600 houses above us, with no drainage or sewerage to come down on top of us.”

Field added that the journalist was shocked to read about the plight of homeowners in Pissouri and residents are hopeful that further press coverage will put pressure on the Cyprus government to step up and do the right thing.

“The government just want us to shut up and are treating us like we’re stupid, and we’re not. We won’t be quiet, and we won’t go away. We will keep the impetus going.”

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