The row over dangerous buildings reignited on Thursday after a small part of an apartment building in Limassol detached and fell to the pavement – with a similar, but separate incident occurring later in the day.
In the first case, no injuries were reported but pictures circulating on social media showed the debris in the direct path of pedestrians, along the pavement below the seven-floor building.
A small, but significant chunk of the building detached and crashed down from the fifth floor to the pavement below at about 4am.
The second crash occurred later in the afternoon with immediate reports stating that part of a balcony collapsed, injuring a 56-year-old woman who was passing underneath. She was taken by ambulance to Limassol hospital but her injuries were not serious.
The incident happened at 3pm Georgiou Katsounotou Street. According to reports the remains of the balcony came from the 7th floor.
The building is one of 100 identified as being dangerous and on which work was being carried out. The area was fenced off after the incident.
Antonis Charalambous, a municipal engineer, referring to the first incident, said that the municipality has been aware of issue relating to the specific building since last April.
“It’s listed in the dangerous buildings category B, meaning that it is not deemed so dangerous as to require demolition but that there are dangerous spots,” he told reporters at the scene.
“The necessary actions were taken, and all owners were informed in writing,” he said, adding that it once again raises the issue of dangerous buildings – and the need to update the legislation.
He renewed calls for the introduction of licences which will grant certification of buildings being safe.
The scientific technical chamber (Etek) has been amongst those issuing such demands, saying that the current legislation is weak and ineffective.
Etek on Thursday stressed that the matter is urgent and that it is purely by good luck that no one has died yet in such incidents.
They further argued that the state should subsidise the renovation works until the necessary legislative changes are made.
Charalambous stressed the point further – pondering what will happen in the future with the massive towers which have been erected, in the light of their being insufficient legislation towards their maintenance and upkeep.
Later in the day, Limassol municipality said that following complaints from the public it has sent out warning letters in 350 cases – with the municipal council declaring 100 buildings to be deemed dangerous.
While the latest incident occurred in Limassol, it was Paphos which saw two similar cases in recent months within hours of each other– the most shocking of which led to three Nepalese people falling from a third-floor balcony which collapsed. Two of them required hospitalisation for serious injuries.
The issue has seen municipalities, mayors, ministries and departments all blame each other for as to who is responsible for such incidents.