| Social Issues |Phileleftheros



The scenes of water sports in the flooded streets of Paralimni and the mayor’s call to visit the area to see the flamingos in the lake that had filled with water, welcoming the birds, helped focus attention on more pleasant sights. But it obviously did not alleviate the magnitude of the disaster. And the question is: can a disaster of this magnitude be justified by that amount of rain? Extreme weather events and the climate crisis provide a good alibi. But can the rainfall of the past few days be called an extreme event or just a winter storm? And if what we have experienced these days was extreme (150 – 200 mm of rain in 6 hours), what will happen when these numbers reach or exceed the levels seen in other countries? (500 mm of rain in 6 hours in Italy two years ago is an example given by ΕΤΕΚ [Cyprus Scientific and Technical Chamber]). 

The climate crisis is a reality. The effects of which, however, we have not yet seen to the full extent or even to a large extent. We created this crisis and its effects have become much more painful by our own actions, which we should already be starting to correct. Instead, we are rushing – especially when we are in an election period – to announce compensation for those affected, who, when the next storm arrives, will be affected once again, as will many others.

Three years ago, on the occasion of [Nicos] Nouris’s proposal (as MP at the time) to allow developments in natural areas such as streams and creeks, this column wrote: “Build them all, just don’t fool us. Tomorrow when some people’s houses flood, don’t pretend you don’t know the cause. Just as you don’t know, and are still looking into, why the earth has opened up in Pissouri and is swallowing up the houses. Just as you also don’t know why erosion is eating away at the coast. And maybe at some point it will wash away the very villas built there.”

Tomorrow has arrived. And Nouris, now a minister, rushed to the area to express his support, while maps released show that unregulated developments, which took nothing into account, are the main cause of the disasters. Water… has a memory. The geology is such that water seeks to escape from where it used to flow by carrying away whatever has been built and prevents its smooth flow or absorption. And compensation is but a painkiller until the next storm.


Daily columnist at Phileleftheros for 20 years and editor-in-chief of the architecture magazine Synthesis. Earlier she worked for Alitheia and Politis. She was born in Dikomo and has been living permanently in Nicosia. She is married with one son.

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