The construction of flood protection works for the Larnaca neighbourhoods of Kamares and Vergina were discussed by the House interior committee on Thursday, with MPs calling on the ministry to immediately implement previous commitments on the issue.

Invited to the discussion was Larnaca mayor Andreas Vyras, who said that the first phase of the project covering the residential areas of Larnaca and Aradippou in the area of Kamares should begin as soon as possible, as there is no more room for excuses.

“We expect the written commitment of the ministry as soon as possible that the project will be financed and the Larnaca Sewerage Board will undertake the implementation of the project. At the same time, the rest of the works concerning the residential area of the municipality of Aradippou in the area of Vergina, which is not covered by the first phase of the project, should proceed and the way must be found to cover the area because the residents are interested in protecting their properties,” said Vyras.

He added that the first phase of the project amounts to €5 million, with the total cost estimated at €14m-15m, and in case of a written commitment by the ministry that there is funding, the municipality will accept bids until the end of the year, with the project starting around March and taking 18 months.

Vyras also mentioned that in the last five years Larnaca has completed about €13m in flood protection projects and has secured a further €18m from the Recovery Fund. Meanwhile, four more major flood protection projects are starting within the year and will continue with another 3-4 projects in 2023 and 2024, for a total amount of €18m.

In his statements after the end of the discussion, Disy MP Prodromos Alambritis noted with satisfaction the position of the interior ministry regarding the preparation of a draft proposal to the Council of Ministers for financing the project according to the study that has been prepared, adding that the study for the area of Vergina, where there is a risk of recurrence of flooding, must proceed immediately.

Akel’s Andreas Pasiourtides added that they want the exact timetable for the disbursement of the installments in writing so that the contracting authority can also make bids for the start of the works.

For his part, Diko MP Christos Orphanides said that the necessity of completing the flood protection project in Kamares has not been understood. “It is a requirement of all Larnaca MPs and the concern is that the studies be done for all the projects where they are needed so that they do not remain empty”, he stressed, while appealing to the parties involved to meet and within a fortnight come up with specific proposals that will also allay the concerns of residents.

Edek’s Andreas Apostolou said that the projects in Kamares were a political commitment given to Larnaca since 2014, shortly after the start of the current government, which has not been implemented to date, a few months before the end of its second term.

Meanwhile, on the issue of ongoing problems with planning projects in Pissouri to remedy subsoil subsidence, Green’s MP Alexandra Attalidou said that the success of a support project in Pissouri was uncertain according to the technical chamber Etek, accusing the state of sloppiness and an inability to properly plan so that there were no consequences afterwards.

Attalidou referred to the problems created by the continued retreat of the subsoil, arguing that the state was responsible for this situation, while she said that according to Etek, it is not certain whether the project would be effective as there is a 50 per cent chance that support will fail.

“The state cannot spend millions if there are doubts about whether the project will stop the problem that exists and threatens the property and lives of residents,” she stressed, adding that any future developments should take climate change into account.