While the weather seems to have calmed after a stormed battered the Maltese islands over the weekend, Civil Protection Department Chief Assistance Rescue Officer Kevin Pace said that emergency calls are still flooding in.
“We have received over 500 emergency calls since Sunday, and calls are still coming in. People might think that since the storm past things has died down, but we are now working on the aftermath.”
Last weekend, Malta was hit by strong winds and heavy rain which led to the cancellation of the Malta marathon. Many roads across the country were blocked by fallen trees, private property across the Maltese islands was damaged by the storm and power lines were also cut. “I have been with the CPD for the past 20 years, and this was, by far, one of the biggest storms we have ever faced.”
Pace said that there were 420 reported cases of trees having fallen, and, in addition to this, 20 cases where trees fell onto vehicles or become entangled in cables. He said that apart from such cases, the CPD also dealt with emergency calls of collapsed rubble walls, as well as solar panels and AC units which fell from roofs and also billboards which were blown over.
“The most difficult operations were those where people’s lives were at stake. We had two cases, one in Birgu and the other in St Julian’s, where seawater flooded peoples’ residences, and was ultimately a danger to people’s health.” He said that so far there have been no cases of people resulting in injury from the storm.
When asked whether there was a particular locality which suffered the most, Pace said that the CPD were receiving calls from all over, both in Malta and Gozo. “Right now I cannot specifically say that we received more calls from one particular locality, as the whole island was affected by the storm.” He said that particular areas, such as St Julian’s, Sliema and Msida suffered serious damage.
“On average, we were around 50 people on duty, with another 26 overtime workers, and then we had volunteers from the Malta Red Cross, St. John Ambulance, the Armed Forces of Malta and the Cleansing Department. On Sunday we also had three private contractors who provided voluntary aid, which also helped greatly.” He said that there were also officers who were constantly on the go throughout the day, while adding that the work load has not decreased whatsoever.
“We advise people to always call 112 and not to override the system by calling the CPD directly.” Pace explained that they had many cases of people trying to call CPD directly, which only slowed the process down and doubled the work, which disrupted the system. Although the weather conditions were harsher than expected, Pace said that the CPD and MET office had advised people through social media that they should have avoided going outside unless necessary.
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