The fire services dealt with a total of 47 incidents in Famagusta overnight following heavy rains in the district, spokesman Andreas Kettis said on Tuesday.

Speaking to state broadcaster CyBC, Kettis said the service had received 56 calls within 24 hours starting on Monday, with flooding having impacted mainly the communities of Xylophagou, Liopetri and Frenaros.

Potato fields in Xylophagou were damaged by the rains, with farmers’ representative Andreas Karyos saying the fields had been flooded, and that hail had continued to fall in the region until 1pm.

“From the floods and the hail, great damages were caused, amounting to several thousand euros,” he said. He did note, however, that he would have to wait a few days to be able to assess the damage done.

He said that officials from the agriculture department had visited the fields to assess the damages themselves.

Elderly persons needed to be evacuated from four homes in the area as they were in imminent danger, Kettis said, and while no serious damages were recorded, the heaviest damages occurred in Xylophagou.

“In all the years I have lived in the community we have never had such rains or such a situation… the village looked like a little Venice,” Xylophagou community leader Georgios Tasou said. He noted that at least 20 homes had been flooded, however damages were minor.

“The situation is not helped by the fact that all the yards are made of concrete,” he noted, adding that a half hour of intense rains was enough to create flooding under such conditions.

Tasou added that the community’s main arteries were flooded in the deluge on Monday night and that two recently completed anti-flooding works in the area were not sufficiently effective to prevent flooding “beyond a certain level of precipitation”.

The community leader also reiterated the residents’ long repeated request for 24-hour staffing of the local community fire station.

The surrounding communities, that is Xylotymbou, Ormidia, Liopetri and Avgorou also consider boosting the operation of the local station “urgent and absolutely necessary,” Tasou said, accusing the state of penny-pinching over the matter.

“The fire station operates normally from 7 in the morning until 7 in the evening and for three years we [have been] requesting it be staffed also in the evening hours,” Tasou said.

The official response – that a large fire station will be built in Ayia Napa – was not satisfactory the community leader stated.

Liopetri residents also experienced widespread flooding and loss of power, while the service was called on to pump water out of at least nine premises and clear drains.

The fire services worked throughout the night until around 3.30am when the rains abated, Kettis said, however in the early morning more calls were received from residents arriving to find flood and water damages at places of work.

Kettis noted that four Famagusta fire crews were reinforced with three other crews from Larnaca district, one from the civil defence and two others from volunteer group Support Cy.