Help for some Pissouri homeowners but no compensation says minister

The government on Monday pledged ad hoc financial assistance to residents of Pissouri whose properties are damaged by the unstable ground there, but stressed that this was not compensation per se.

During a discussion in parliament, interior minister Constandinos Petrides said an amount would be disbursed to the affected homeowners in the form of ‘humanitarian assistance’.

It was not immediately clear whether this involved a one-time payment or a recurring imbursement.

For the time being, Petrides said, compensating the homeowners in Pissouri was being ruled out.

Compensation would imply the government is taking responsibility.

In the meantime, a study is to be launched to determine the causes of the problem. A call for tenders for the study is already out, with a July 12 deadline for expressions of interest.

The study would be conducted over two phases: the first lasting four months and focusing on the reasons for the phenomenon; and the second lasting 152 weeks and recommending ways of addressing the issue in the event that relocating the residents is not deemed an option.

Petrides again urged affected property owners to seek redress from the developers and contractors.

Georgia-Elina Zoi, a lawyer representing the disaffected community, told MPs that since 2015 they have been struggling to persuade authorities that the issue is a landslide and not soil subsidence.

She said the phenomenon is impacting not only houses but also electricity cables and roads which have no overlying structures.

The land shifts by approximately 30 centimetres a month, Zoi added. And following this year’s heavy rains, many more residences have been affected which previously had not been.

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