TWISTERS HIT NORTH COAST
Taken from this weeks issue.
By KEREM HASAN / Chief Reporter
THOUSANDS of homes along the north coast of the TRNC were left without power after storms and twisters wreaked havoc yesterday afternoon.
Trees were uprooted, power cables brought down and at least three people injured after the freak weather first struck at around noon.
The Teknecik power plant in Çatalköy was badly damaged by the powerful wind. Trees were uprooted in an area from Ozanköy to Karşıyaka with reports of tiles, solar panels and water tanks being ripped off rooftops.
Electricity Workers’ Union (El-Sen) chairman Kubilay Özkıraç said last night that electricity was being purchased from South Cyprus.
Speaking to Cyprus Today, El-Sen general-secretary Ersan Kaşif said: “There has been a complete catastrophe at Teknecik after a twister ripped through the heart of the electricity plant, bringing down many of the 66,000kW and 11,000kW high voltage electricity pylons.
“We witnessed explosions . . . as high speed winds battered the power station.
“We watched the incident with horror and were powerless to stop this natural phenomenon.
“Thankfully no-one was hurt, but because of the situation . . . the electricity production from the plant is currently zero.
“All [electricity authority] Kıb-Tek teams have been ordered to go to the Girne area and to Teknecik as part of efforts to fix everything. But we don’t know how long it will take.”
Girne Mayor Nidai Güngördü told this newspaper last night that he was holding “emergency meetings” with civil defence, police and local officials after becoming inundated with calls of structural damage.
“Trees have been uprooted and roof tiles were flying off in Ozanköy’s central area,” he said. “An electricity pole near the village mosque came down. A resident’s chicken coop was literally ripped apart and blown into the [adjacent] Martyrs’ Memorial.
“Ninety per cent of the roof tiles of the Demir Bilek DIY market were blown away. A man was injured and had to be taken to hospital.
“On the Girne-Çatalköy road, a greenhouse belonging to a flower shop opposite the Soydan petrol station was wrecked and we received complaints of solar panels and DIY equipment being damaged.
“The rooftops of two villas near Elexus hotel were damaged after the tiles on the roof were blown away.”
Girne district officer Sinan Güneş said that twisters had caused damage from Sadrazamköy to Çatalköy and that three people had suffered minor injuries.
Karşıyaka muhtar Ahmet Pelit said his the village was also badly hit: “Eighty-year old cypress trees were uprooted. There was structural damage to different parts of the village, including Şehit Mehmet Salih Mahan Sokağı, and we have had power cuts since the start of the storm. Electricity poles also came down.”
British Residents Society chairman Peter Wilkins, who lives in Karşıyaka, said: “We had friends around and were planning to go out after our afternoon tea. Then we heard the very loud wind.
“When I walked out I saw that a tree had collapsed right onto my Suzuki Jeep soft-top. The sheer ferocity of the storm has caused a lot of damage to parts of the village. Some of our garden furniture – including the large umbrella which had been cemented into the ground – was uprooted and landed in the swimming pool. We can see trees lying on the side.”
In Ozanköy, Yusuf Zorluk and his wife, Karen, own a house not far from the village centre.
Karen said: “I have lived in North Cyprus since 2016 and have never seen anything like this before.
“It happened at around the same time as the Friday prayers at the local mosque. It was a horrifying sight watching the twister ripping up materials as it made its way through the centre of the village.
“We usually observe such natural occurrences over the sea . . . An electricity pole collapsed to the ground, the trees of the mosque were flying around. All this was happening just 30 metres away from our house. We have had no electricity in the village since.”