A big clean up operation is underway in Malta after the worst storm to hit the island in 25 years.
A big clean up operation is underway in Malta after the worst storm to hit the island in 25 years. At least four people died when the storm struck on Friday night (26 October) sending floodwaters swirling over low lying areas.
SYNOPSIS: The storm dumped two-and-a-half inches (6 c.m.) of rain on the island in just three hours. In some districts floodwaters rose to seven feet (2 metres) sweeping away cars and swamping homes and buildings. Telephone and power lines were brought down and a number of towns were isolated for more than 24 hours. One of the victims of the storm...a 55-year-old woman drowned when she was trapped in the flooded basement of her home. Another two people died when their cars were washed away. Many other motorists were stranded and had to be rescued by police and servicemen.
The fourth confirmed victim was a young woman tourist. Her body was found on the shore at Salina Bay. She'd apparently been trying to return to her hotel when she was caught in the floodwaters. A day after the storm several other people were still officially listed as missing. The damage to road and property is expected to run into millions of dollars. As well there's the cost of ruined crops and heavy livestock losses.
At the height of the storm Malta's airport was closed for an hour and a half. Visibility was reduced to a few yards. One of the most dramatic rescues came at a local sports centre. Thirty people were isolated by deep water, and boats and helicopters had to be brought in to get them out. For much of the storm public transport came to a halt as stranded vehicles littered the roads. In some districts the floodwaters had piled cars on top of each other.
The clean up operation is expected to take several weeks.