NewsLocalHomeowners forced out of Pissouri residence after wall collapses

Homeowners forced out of Pissouri residence after wall collapses

The wall of a house collapsed in Pissouri forcing the residents to relocate, they told philenews on Wednesday.

The owner of the house said that the wall collapsed completely and that she and her husband now live in another property, which they are renting.

A slow-moving landslide which has caused damage to the soil and houses is affecting the area “Limnes” in Pissouri, as the village is located in a geologically problematic zone.

Pissouri residents have been raising the problem since 2012, when the land slippage first appeared in the village.

Since then, many houses have sustained enormous damage and have been forced to relocate.

Owners of properties in the area have been locked in a battle with the government over compensation.

Insurers in Cyprus do not cover landslides and it is the government which is responsible for paying compensation for damage from natural disasters.

On Monday, Interior Minister Constantinos Petrides told the House Internal Affairs Committee that the government will offer a fund to the affected homeowners for “humanitarian reasons, not as compensation.”

Auditor General Odysseas Michaelides said that the government cannot be held accountable for the land slippage and that the responsibility for evaluating the structural calculations before building the houses, should have normally been in the hands of an engineer appointed by the developers that sold the properties.

He added that the fact that state authorities check the structural calculations does not exempt the engineers of their responsibility as it is they who sign them.

Michaelides described a possible decision to compensate affected homeowners as a “gift to land developers who sold the properties to unsuspecting buyers”.

On behalf of the homeowners, Georgia-Elina Zoi, lawyer of the Pissouri Housing Initiative Group (PHIG) said that the landslide is a result of the accumulation of large quantities of water in the subsoil, which comes from two sources: rain water and sewage water.

Lack of appropriate infrastructure has led to the accumulation of large quantities of water and the destabilisation of the soil, causing the slow-moving landslide phenomenon, the speed of which, however, has more than tripled in 2018, due to increased rainfall, Zoi said.

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