Many people will be aware that, early this morning, there was a major explosion at the Zygi naval base in Cyprus. It's probably 40km from Larnaka, so we were unaware that it had happened until we turned on our computers and saw the news . There's more information, and comments by locals, about the blast on the Cyprus Mail site.
It's a tragic loss of life, and my heart goes out to the relatives. I hope and pray that those injured will recover, and that those made homeless will receive the help they need. It's a tragedy that should not have happened, according to the above reports, and many more pouring in from newspapers and news sites. Storing munitions in canisters in Cyprus summer temperatures was extremely unwise; apparently they survived last year, however, so perhaps the authorities assumed they would be fine this year, too. A brush fire is supposed to have been the trigger, with the explosion rocking the neighbourhood. Ministers have resigned over this issue, and no doubt recriminations will be thrown about widely, with nobody wanting to take full responsibility.
The pictures on the BBC site show utter devastation in the area, and other reports talk of debris for miles around. The nearby towns were seriously disrupted, and the Limassol Highway has been closed. Apparently there were some widespread power cuts this morning, since there was a nearby electricity plant, which has been knocked out. It is likely that it will have to be re-built from scratch... and this is the plant that provides half the island's power. It occurs to me that, while the loss of life is appalling, and heart-breaking to their loved ones, it is something of a miracle that there were not many hundreds more injuries and fatalities.
We understand that this disaster will lead to widespread disruption around Cyprus for the next six months, or perhaps more. Temperatures and humidity started to soar over the weekend, meaning that homes, shops, hotels and other buildings will be using air conditioning - and many people seem to run their thermostats at surprisingly low temperatures. The de-salination plants have apparently been turned off for now, so we're relying on water from the reservoirs once more. It was a fairly wet winter, so there's enough water for now... but Cyprus has been relying on de-salinated water for a while now, to supply the excess.
Rumour has it that there are likely to be disruptions of both electricity and water, in planned (but probably un-announced) waves across the island for the next few months. We are usually fairly careful about our water and electricity use, but not as much as we used to be when there were regular water restrictions. We run our air conditioners only in rooms we're using, and keep the thermostat at 28C; perhaps we should increase that to 29, which should still be all right for the computers, and would continue to remove humidity which is the worst part of the summer from our perspective.
Apparently we're asked to run washing machines and dishwashers as little as possible, and not during peak working hours. I don't run ours other than when they're full, but will try to remember to do them at night, or early in the morning. Tumble driers are not generally used in Cyprus, and I can't imagine anyone would use one in the summer; we don't have one. We're asked not to iron unecessarily. That one's easy enough, since I iron almost nothing anyway. No doubt we'll be told not to water our patios and streets - something else that I don't do.
If everyone pulls together and is sensible about water and electricity, we might find that life is not too disrupted; decreased bills might even make it more attractive to use power more efficiently. The alternative would seem to be widespread cuts, more people leaving Cyprus, fewer tourists, and the gradual descent into the lifestyle of a non-developed country.