A runoff channel constructed forty years ago leading into Oroklini Lake was last cleaned decades ago, raising concerns over flooding among owners of adjacent properties, it emerged on Friday.

Oroklini community leader, Neophytos Fakontis, who has raised the issue before the House interior committee, pointed out that the area has experienced rapid development in recent years and 7,575 people now inhabiting the community are at risk of facing catastrophic effects from flooding.

According to Fakontis, the 1km long runoff whose blockage affects residents below Prophet Ilias hill in Oroklini, has been almost completely closed by landslides and acacias growing in it.

The canal, which by rights ought to be cleared every three to five years, has not been dealt with in 37 years, with the competent authorities blaming each other for the lapse in services.

A permanent concrete rainwater channel through which the waters are diverted into the lake of Oroklini must be refurbished and subsidiary channels need to be built to manage rainwater, the community leader explained.

Meanwhile, the Oroklini community council has had to pay for and create a new earthen channel as a stopgap measure.

Residents of Larnaca and Aradippou where flooding also occurred in 2014-2016 are similarly concerned over the issue, and Larnaca MPs have pointed out that construction projects to deal with possible floods have been on hold for nine years.

Mayor of Larnaca Andreas Vyras, stated before the parliamentary committee that the Larnaca sewerage council, which he chairs, undertook to manage the issue in October 2022, however the project was hampered by omissions in the guiding assessment as well as failure to conduct the necessary land appropriations.

Only one contractor had shown interest in the Larnaca Camares project whose bid was 30 per cent higher than the estimate of the project designer, so that tender was scrapped.

Regarding Aradippou, Vyras stated the relevant study, for which an extension was already granted once, is still outstanding. The mayor noted that while €20 million flood control projects have been implemented for the largest pumping stations in Cyprus, implementation of another three or four projects for which another €10 million is earmarked are still pending.

Meanwhile in Nicosia, projects in the municipality of Engomi, to deal with flooding of the Klimos river channel part of which has been sealed off, are also facing delays with experts in disagreement over whether the creation of two artificial lakes – one outside the State Fair and one at the abandoned Nicosia airport – is the best way to proceed.

The creation of a lake at the old Nicosia airport is frozen due to the status of the area, while that at the old State Fair grounds fell though due to opposition from the former Archbishop.