So, how did everyone enjoy our new car marina last weekend? And by 'car marina', I mean the floods that turned our cars into boats?
Joking aside, last weekend's flooding was horrendous – worse for some than others, depending on what area you live in.
Personally, I was parked in a side street of the Saint Lazarus area and watched in horror from the venue window as the water levels rose to cover half the height of the car. In the evening when I left, I managed to wade knee-deep to the car, squeeze into the driver's seat from the less-flooded passenger side, only to find myself sat in a puddle! The car had flooded inside. Okay, not the most tragic thing that could happen in a flood when you look at what people in other parts of the world suffer, but for a little Larnaca gal, it was traumatic enough, and I spent the evening with my feet in a bowl of warm water and a hot water bottle feeling rather sorry for myself!
But as it turns out, our car got off lightly! From all over the town, we heard and saw horror stories of houses flooded, shop stock destroyed, cars completely submerged or swimming in 'lakes', electricity outages, and residents who could not get to their homes as their roads had been cordoned off by police – accompanied by a soundtrack of wailing emergency vehicles. And although it was not on a par with the devastating floods that other countries have experienced, it was a very tiny but scary glimpse into what those battling catastrophic floods contend with, and not one I would like to experience again.
It goes without saying that we cannot control weather conditions, hence why there is always a 'force majeure' / 'act of God' clause in insurance policies, and it is not the fault of our powers-that-be that it rains. Last weekend was a particularly severe case of flooding – of the worse we have had – so it would not be fair to come down too hard on those who govern us. But, the truth is, it doesn't take much rain for Larnaca to flood, and so therefore I believe it is their fault that they cannot provide their citizens with decent roads that can cope with rain.
Am I being ignorant on this matter to believe that there are methods to prevent flooding and that they should be implemented, or is it far more complicated than that? Maybe there is a valid reason for why we continue to have to put up with this very dangerous occurrence, almost every time it rains? Thankfully, last weekend's floods were damaging enough to have an impact, and on Monday a meeting was held with the mayor, emergency services, civil engineers and others on putting together a contingency plan so we do not end up in the same situation, as well as the setting up of a helpline and practical and financial assistance to those worse hit. For the time being, I will allow my faith to be restored, but how much faith I do have in their words is debatable.
On the plus side, the dams had a good injection of water, the flamingos at the salt lake are very happy, my rather neglected trees have finally had a really good, long drink, and the wash that the car was desperately in need of has been nicely taken care of, although I didn't really plan on giving it a hosing on the inside too!
First appeared in They Cyprus Weekly, 19/12/14