A TEAM of geologists should have a study on the Limni area in Pissouri ready by the end of this month looking into how to combat the land slippage problem, according to Animal Party head Kyriakos Kyriakou.
Although the interior ministry could not confirm this, it recently announced it was investigating the matter and looking at measures it could implement such as expanding infrastructure that channel rain water away from the area and drilling new wells to monitor the underground water.
“Three homes have already been demolished, while new cracks appear every day at the others,” said Kyriakou, who is involved in the Pissouri Housing Initiative Group (PHIG). Homeowners have appealed to the government for help as several houses sustained structural damage due to land slippage such as cracks in interior and exterior walls, swimming pools, roads, pavements, footpaths, retaining walls, drains, water pipes and other infrastructure.
“Each new crack sounds like shooting that can shake us out of bed in the night and every morning we inspect every inch of our homes to see if the cracks and rifts have grown.”
About 50 homes have been affected and in the meantime, they are in a race against time wanting to know when and how their problem will be dealt with.
“We fear that the summer drought will lead to further subsidence of the ground and we fear that the next rain will penetrate the already affected foundations of our homes.”
The ministry said the problem in the Pissouri area was mainly due to the underground water, which is close to the surface, in combination with the geological conditions of the area.
“The ground, up to a depth of 16 metres, is made up of loose material that came from past landslide in the wider area,” the ministry said in a written statement. “The ground morphology does not allow the water to escape, as the area’s name ‘Limnes’ (lakes) denotes.”
I attended the meeting yesterday where we heard from Peter Field, the chairman of PHIG, that a Cypriot family with young children could be made homeless in a matter of weeks if the problem isn’t rectified.
Mr Kyriacou advised that he had spoken with the chairman of the relevant parliamentary committee, Dr Adamos Adamou MP. He is aware of the issue and will be visiting the area next week to see for himself the problems and talk to the group. Dr Adamou has given his assurance that the matter will be discussed by the Environmental Committee by the end of September.
The British owner of one of the houses I visited said that they’d had no problems until February this year when a large sinkhole appeared overnight in their front garden. Since then cracks have opened up in many of rooms of their house, which continue to to expand. She told he how she lay awake at nights listening to the sound of her house groaning and cracking.
The Cypriot owner of a recently built property told me how her house had started to sink and that she was in litigation with her developer to recover her money having discovered that her property had been built on on a ‘lake’.
A report from the Ministry of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Environment to the Pissouri Community Council some years ago recommended the construction of a suitable drainage system for rainwater, which will cover the whole “Lakes” area, together with possible other flood control projects.
This recommendation was never implemented.