17 September 2003

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Storm brought Malta to verge of a national emergency

By Kurt Sansone
Monday’s torrential rain created floods of a different kind at the Civil Protection headquarters with emergency phone calls pouring in by the minute. With almost 80 emergency rescue situations to deal with, over 1,000 requests for bailing out flooded basements and homes and major road arteries in Marsa, Zebbug, Burmarrad and Birkirkara closed down, the country was on the brink of a national emergency.
Talking to The Malta Financial and Business Times yesterday, Civil Protection head Peter Cordina said that had the rains not stopped the country would have been dangerously close to a national emergency.
Although the weather offered little relent yesterday from the squalid conditions of Monday, the rain was far less intense.
The morning showers created floods in Msida and Birkirkara. Gozo was also heavily pelted by rain.
Mr Cordina said that the weather over the central Mediterranean was still unstable and although it is unlikely that the island will experience another downpour like Monday, more showers could be expected for today.
Mr Cordina also denied rumours making the rounds yesterday that four people including two tourists had been found dead.
The Civil Protection Department, apart from deploying its own personnel also co-ordinated the salvage efforts involving the armed forces, the police and public works employees.
The heavy downpour on Monday, calculated at 100.6mm eclipsed the average of 90.7mm that had been registered since the beginning of the year.
The rain caused untold damage to cars, homes, fields and roads. Qormi mayor Roderick Galdes was yesterday quoted by di-ve.com as saying that the estimated damage to his locality amounted to almost
Lm1 million.

Copyright © Newsworks Ltd. Malta.
Editor: Saviour Balzan
The Malta Financial & Business Times, Newsworks Ltd, Vjal ir-Rihan, San Gwann
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