Athens/Nicosia - The drought-stricken island of Cyprus welcomed its first rain storm in recent months Wednesday which ended up causing flooding to many parts of the eastern Mediterranean island. Heavy storms forced the closure of two main roads in the capital Nicosia and emergency crews were called in to evacuate more than 300 homes due to heavy flooding.

Cyprus, which is heavily reliant on rainfall for water supplies, is suffering one of the worst droughts and water shortages in the past 100 years.

The island's reservoirs have reached dangerously low levels and its two desalination plants are unable to keep up with industry and the household demand of more than 800,000 people as well as tens of thousands of visitors at the height of the tourist season.

In March, the drought forced authorities to impose emergency measures which include cutting household water supply by 30 per cent in an effort to tackle the shortage.

The agriculture ministry said that the island's water shortage problem was estimated at 16 million cubic metres and could end up costing the government some 40 million euros (63 million dollars).

Greece has agreed to sell 8 million cubic metres of water to Cyprus by November 15.

The Mediterranean island's 109 reservoirs are only 6 per cent full, containing 19.7 million cubic metres of water and Cyprus' largest dam, the Kouri, is expected to run dry in the next few months, according to the most recent data.

According to official statistics, rainfall in Cyprus has dropped by about 20 per cent over the past 35 years and unseasonal weather has seen temperatures rising above 30 degrees Celsius.

Across the island, water is being pumped out of the ground at an unsustainable pace, but many boreholes supplying communities have been shut down because they are at risk of seawater contamination.