Action plan to stop Pissouri landslide

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Cyprus said on Friday it will be spending €33 mln to stabilise the soil in Limassol’s Pissouri village (Limnes area) where heavy subsidence has caused serious damage to dozens of properties.

The government said it will begin earthworks in 2021 to stabilise the area in which dozens of houses were ripped apart over the past eight years by an active landslide.

Following a visit to the site, Interior Minister Nicos Nouris said a study has recommended excavations at several points in the area, some to a depth of 39 metres, and the insertion of a mesh of shoring piles in a bid to stabilize the soil.

The project, which according to Nouris is to cost taxpayers some €33 mln, will also feature the construction of rainwater runoff and sewerage systems.

Upon the project’s completion, said Nouris, there are plans to build public amenities for the community, such as sports facilities.

The final report on the action to be taken will be submitted around January 2021, after which the government will immediately invite tenders for the construction project.

“This ambitious project is not expected to be finished before the end of 2022,” said the minister.

Nouris said that investigating authorities have found that the ground has been shifting at least 8 cm a month causing properties to crumble.

The government, however, failed to say what will happen with the houses of dozens of families who saw the properties fall apart.

Residents, including British expats, have been campaigning for compensation from the authorities who are obligated to compensate people who lose or see their properties damaged during the event of natural disasters.

However, none have been compensated since 2012 as the government departments debate whether the destruction was indeed caused by a landslide.

Nouris said the government would continue to subsidise rents for residents who are no longer able to live in their deformed homes.

The government has been reluctant to pay compensation as it would denote liability.

Pissouri’s plight was covered by international media, with a BBC documentary talking to a number of British expats who, after retiring from the UK settled in the area, putting their savings into a retirement dream home.

British families whose homes have been torn apart feel abandoned by the Cyprus government without a roof over their heads reported the BBC in a 2018 documentary.

Peter and Kayt Field from Newbury and Herefordshire, Jeremy and Katherine Yeomans from Surrey, and Mick and Louise Ellis from Buckinghamshire went on record with the BBC about their frustration and the devastation that’s been caused, and how their life savings are now a pile of rubble.

“Governments are responsible for compensating for natural disasters, however, the Cypriot Government has been investigating for six years (2012) and has not agreed a landslide is to blame yet, so there have been no pay-outs,” reported the BBC.