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Glimmer of hope for Pissouri homeowners

There appears to be a glimmer of hope for homeowners affected by the devastating land slippage in the Limnes (lakes) area of Pissouri; they are hopeful that a solution may soon be found.

devasted house at Limnes in PissouriAFTER years of worry, residents in Limnes village Pissouri are hopeful a solution will now be found for their rapidly disintegrating homes following a recent meeting with the interior minister.

Member of the Pissouri community council, Markos Foutas, told the Sunday Mail this week that a course of action had been decided during the meeting with Interior Minister Constantinos Petrides which took place on Friday. The most important is that a comprehensive study will be carried out to outline the various options and the costs associated with each, that could help the government decide the best way forward.

In total, 60 properties are affected by serious land slippage which has caused some homes to rip apart, roads to buckle and electricity cables to move. Four families have had to move out completely. The damage affects the whole area and not just properties built by individual developers.

During the meeting, it was decided to establish a committee comprised of the Limassol district officer, experts from the department of geological survey, public works, water board and a member of the Pissouri community council.

Their first task, according to Foutas is to call for tenders in the next few weeks for the study which is set to be carried out.

Detailing its purpose, he said the study would offer a breakdown of possible solutions which could be undertaken to solve the problems and the respective costs.

For example, “would they approach it geologically, using piling to fix the roads for example? Or would they evacuate the area? How much would each option cost?”

This, according to Foutas will serve as a guide for the government.

The study is expected to be completed by the end of the year.

Petrides also said there was a “big possibility” that he would table a proposal to cabinet aimed to help the families who have had to be evicted.

According to Foutas this would be in the form of financial assistance. However, the minister said it was a matter of studying all options – for instance the legal aspect as private developers also have responsibility.

Even though this is certainly not the first time residents got their hopes up, Foutas said “we are very positive. The meeting lasted over two hours and the minister gave us a lot of attention.”

In 2015, the former interior minister, Socratis Hasikos, had announced plans to put measures in place. These included expanding projects designed to channel rainwater away from the area. New wells were also set to be drilled to monitor the underground water.

The cost, quoted at €20m, was going to be paid for by the government.

Nothing materialised and then the government changed its mind, saying the fault lay with the contractors who had, for instance, used inadequate filling-in works.

According to Georgia Elina Zoi, a lawyer who has taken up the case on behalf of the residents, this was nothing but a ploy as the engineers who designed the homes over 20 years ago are either retired or dead.

Readers' comments

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  • stannos says:

    The cost to fix the problem is quoted at 20 Mil Euro. Will this come from my money they stole in 2013? and will they give such project to a koumbaros with half the amount as a kickback.

  • Bogbrush says:

    For three years the Government has denied that there is any evidence of land movement as advised by the Chief Engineer in the Limassol Government Office. He has constantly said the problem was one of faulty building by the various developers, even though there were large fissures appearing in fields.

    The Government agreed to form a committee last October but have only now started to move following an InSar satellite survey, (accurate to 1mm) which showed there was movement of up to 178mm (7″) in one area over a period of four months.

    All costs for this report and others have been covered by the private house owners. No contributions from the Village Council or anyone else.

    Dr Gareth Hearne, a Geotechnical Engineer sometimes employed by the Cyprus Government has visited the area on two occasions in the last twelve months. He has written a paper, published in the London Geological Journal on “Landslide in the Pissouri Area”. It is understood that this paper is to be the Gold Standard for landslide investigation by this London Journal.

    I suspect these two reports are the spur that the Government needed to kick start the above action. As the movement has accelerated over the past nine months and is getting worse.

    Ed: Here is an abstract of the Gareth Hearn (et all) report:

    The residential area of Limnes in Pissouri, SW Cyprus has experienced significant ground behaviour problems since heavy winter rainfall in 2011/2012. These problems have comprised cracking and displacement to the ground, pavements, roads, walls and buildings, leading to the abandonment of the most seriously-affected houses. Nicosia marl comprises the underlying lithology, a material that is associated with volume change upon wetting and drying and has led to foundation problems elsewhere in the country. Various explanations have been given to account for the observed phenomena at Limnes, including the effects of underground water, settlement, slope instability, cyclical shrink-swell, seepage erosion and dissolution. Raised water tables, caused by residential waste-water discharges, applied loads from residential buildings, and inadequate ground investigation and foundation design, are other contributory or causal factors that have been cited.

    A geomorphological study was undertaken in 2017 and early 2018 that combined field observations with aerial photograph interpretation, and a review of available ground investigation data, to yield an explanation and develop a preliminary ground model. The conclusion drawn was that the Limnes area had been affected by ancient (possibly Late Pleistocene-Early Holocene) deep-seated failure and that slope instability had subsequently been reactivated at a shallower depth within the failed material as a result of loss of material strength and high water tables. The properties of the Nicosia marl, while important in controlling the behaviour of the ground on a site-by-site basis, were considered to be aggravating factors in the context of the landslide displacement(s) affecting the slope as a whole. InSAR satellite movement monitoring data were analysed for the Limnes area and the outcome vindicated the geomorphological interpretation and helped strengthen the ground model that embodied slope failure as the underlying cause of damage.

  • Stan Bateman says:

    Markos Foutas certainly seems to be trying his best to resolve this awful situation.

    Problem is, the Gov’t is also trying its best to wriggle out of its responsibilities.

    Let’s hope Markos wins through for the sake of the people of Pissouri, who deserve far better treatment.

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