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ETEK call to rehome Pissouri families

The Scientific and Technical Chamber of Cyprus (ETEK) has called on the Government to rehome the families in Pissouri whose homes suffered considerable damage by the on-going landslide.

ETEK, the Technical Chamber of Cyprus and statutory adviser to the Cypriot state and an organization of all Cypriot engineers, called on the Government to rehome families in Pissouri whose homes have been damaged by the landslides and also questions why the area was ever included in a development zone.

You may read ETEK’s press release (in Greek) at Μετακίνηση εδάφους σε περιοχή του χωριού Πισσούρι. An approximate English translation follows.

ETEK Press Release

Movement of land, buildings and infrastructures, due to landslides, underground gaps and soaring lands are undoubtedly a serious problem. This phenomenon evolves even more intensely under dynamic conditions during an earthquake, especially when the soil is saturated with water after a heavy rainfall.

The Chamber fully shares the anxiety of the affected residents of a particular area in Pissouri, which is based on a landslide. Parts of this landslide are occasionally activated causing cracks and other disasters in their homes as well as public infrastructure. Since August 2015 and following contacts with an initiative group of affected local residents, the Chamber has requested and received information from the Ministry of Interior on the causes that caused the damage.

As it has been found with the opening of exploratory drillings, the decline of the soil is due to the previous years’ embankment of the area with loose or unsuitable materials in an attempt to manage the landslide symptoms. The degree of material compaction as well as the existence of underground water (5 – 6 metres), which periodically fluctuates, seem to contribute to the destabilization of various parts of the area from time to time. It can be seen that the geological and geotechnical data were not included in the design of urban planning and static construction studies.

The state has an obligation to give specific answers since it is reasonable to wonder how a geographically problematic area has been integrated into a development zone, resulting in the licensing of specific developments. In addition, ETEK invites its members as engineers / supervisors to be careful and apply the legislation, considering the actual soil data, by designing or commissioning the elaboration of the relevant technical study, where necessary.

In view of the fact that the affected inhabitants in Pissouri have less or no responsibility for the problems they have suffered, the Chamber invites the state, and as soon as possible (after these problems have been presented from 2011 to 2012) to proceed with the necessary actions to relocate the affected families, to suspend development licenses in the area and to carry out necessary specialized studies which will demonstrate solutions to address the problem. it has been shown that the implementation of individual preventive construction projects for the management of surface rainwater is considered to be insufficient.

The Chamber declares once again that it will support the state’s efforts in this direction and, in addition, declares that it is prepared on the basis of the know-how of its members to provide every possible technical support.

 

Readers' comments

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  • Antony Walker FRICS says:

    I am surprised and gratified to read the ETEK Press Release. According the former Minister of Interior, all ETEK members who designed homes in the unstable area of Pissouri were “criminally negligent”.

    To the best of my knowledge and belief ETEK made no response to its members being branded as criminals by a Minister.

  • Martyn G says:

    Can only say Well Done the Chamber for alighting and acting on this awful situation.

    When my wife and I arrived in Cyprus 12.5 years ago, our 1st stop when thinking about buying a property on the Island was Pissouri. After a nice Cypriot lunch, but no alcohol ! we took the opportunity to look over a wall or two before going back to our car.

    What we saw THEN was horrendous! 4 virtually new houses (modern, large) separated from a (seemingly very new) street by between 1 and 3 metres with absolutely no safe way of accessing the properties either on foot or vehicular. We thankfully had an early insight into what can go wrong in Cyprus planning (?) and development and felt much more confident about buying an older village house with title and decent surveyors report.

    We sympathize greatly with the Owners of those and other Pissouri Purchasers – and find it Scary that these problems have been allowed to proliferate, and the problem multiplied several times by the information now highlighting, at long last, to public and Planning administrators, surveyors, designers, developers – just now downright awful the whole things have been! Those Purchasers need much more than Sympathy, they need Action, Remedial, if possible or full refunds and decent compensation in lieu!!!

    Ed: Most of the affected houses are more than 20 years old and this landslip started to be become apparent about six years ago. Toe years ago the (then) Interior Minister said the Government would pay to clear up the mess – see Government to pay for Pissouri mess.

    But it’s the usual story – Q. How do you tell if a politician’s lying? A. His/her lips move..

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