With winter looming and after one of the rainiest seasons in recent decades Larnaca, which was hit by a heavy storm and flooding on Sunday, urged residents on Monday to prepare their homes, shops and warehouses for the months ahead.
On Sunday the coastal town was caught unawares by torrential rains and strong winds around midday, which forced police to close at least five roads for nearly three hours.
The storm off the south coast also skirted Limassol and Paphos, where some trees fell, one on a car in the latter district, but no other serious damage was reported, and no one was injured. In Limassol photos showed people scattering from a beach and sunbed umbrellas turned inside out.
But in Larnaca, off-duty emergency personnel had to be brought in to deal with around 200 calls for help from trapped motorists, and to bail out flooded homes and shops. The fire service had 11 crews working the city and district to pump water from flooded areas and to tow cars, deputy spokesman Andreas Christofi said.
Police and civil defence were also on hand to address the situation, he said. Most of the flood-related incidents were reported in Oroklini and the Kamares area, Christofi said. No one was injured but winds lifted off some tin roofs and scattered loose objects in the streets, which is why the municipality on Monday appealed to residents not to leave building materials or objects on pavements, open spaces or dry riverbeds “which may be swept away by rainwater and cause more problems”.
“After yesterday’s problems, Larnaca residents are urged to properly prepare each premises, house, shop or warehouse for timely and effective prevention in the face of likely increased rainfall,” the municipality said in a statement after a broad meeting to review the occurrence.
It also called on residents to check their drainpipes to make sure they’re clean, and to ensure drains are not covered by stones, boxes, skips or machinery. “We recommend that all basement owners supply themselves with water pumps and that existing water pumps in underground facilities be inspected and maintained,” it added.
As far as its own responsibilities were concerned, the municipality said that most of the drainage in the district had been cleaned over the past 20 days. The Kamares riverbed had also been cleaned, and work was still ongoing, it added.
Work had also begun creating two new pumping stations, “which is expected to resolve much of the problems by the end of February and March 2020 respectively”.