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Civil defence launching nationwide campaign on flood-risk management

Photo: Christos Theodorides

The civil defence department is launching a nationwide campaign to inform local authorities, public services, the general public and other stakeholders on flood-risk management, utilising the interactive flood maps prepared by the water development department for the purpose of taking protective measures, it announced on Tuesday.

The campaign will include broadcasting radio messages, issuing press releases, distributing leaflets and producing audiovisual material for dissemination via the new civil defence website and social media.

At a press conference at the department’s offices in Lakatamia, senior official, Nicolas Paris, gave a presentation on the flood maps and their purpose, including a risk matrix of the probability and impact of disasters such as flooding and fires.

“The preparation of national risk assessment reports is now an obligation for every EU member state,” he explained. “The most recent national risk assessment report was submitted to the European Commission at the end of 2018 and is posted on the official website of the civil defence. It included the following hazards: earthquake, tsunami, floods, water scarcity, technological accidents, forest fires, the rise of sea levels and marine pollution. Risk assessment can be used by all government agencies for their planning, by insurance companies, researchers and the general public.”

In his address, permanent secretary of the interior ministry Kypros Kyprianou noted “today’s conference could not have been held at a more opportune time” as heavy rain has in recent days meant flooding in all districts.

He congratulated the civil defence leadership and staff on their work and the campaign and assured them of the ministry’s support while he also stressed the campaign will help local authorities to more effectively deal with the risk of floods.

As part of the EU directive on risk assessment and management, the water development department has prepared a flood management plan 2016-2021, a monitoring plan and an organisational plan.

Proposed measures which have been identified are early warning, anti-flooding works, controlled flooding of selected areas, restoration of riverbeds to improve retainment capacity, sustainable rainwater management, the preparation of flood management plans and informing the public about self-protection measures.

The information campaign includes a series of meetings in all districts which will be completed on November 15. More info is available on the new website of the department www.civildefence.com.cy

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