[WATCH] Malta counts the cost of storm damage

Battered, broken and damaged: in the wake of Malta's worst storm since 1982, Malta eyes the strewn goods on the road

The Birgu pontoon was dislodged so that yachts were sandwiched against yachts moored onto another pontoon
The Birgu pontoon was dislodged so that yachts were sandwiched against yachts moored onto another pontoon

A hall at Fort St Angelo and the water main between Malta and Gozo joined the long list of damaged properties in the wake of the weekend’s gale force winds.

A trip across Malta on Monday morning revealed the extent of damage caused by the vicious winds and massive waves that battered Malta’s east coast.

Former soldiers who once worked at the Armed Forces of Malta’s maritime section have told MaltaToday that the last time they recall seeing such weather was during the Bush-Gorbachev summit in 1989.

Residents all around the country struggled to clear their porches of dangerous and splintered trees that were ravaged by the storm
Residents all around the country struggled to clear their porches of dangerous and splintered trees that were ravaged by the storm

The Meteorological Office said the last such storm went back to 1982.

READ MORE: Worst storm since 1982, Prime Minister tells Parliament

The onset of the stormy weather was also caught by the seismographs operated by the University of Malta.

On Monday morning, along the St Julians and Sliema promenade, people and businesses were left counting the cost of damage caused by the waves that battered the shore and their buildings.

The sea inside St Julians Bay was littered with wooden and plastic debris, remnants of destroyed boats.

Age-old trees have had their barks flayed and healthy branches stripped off
Age-old trees have had their barks flayed and healthy branches stripped off

Electrical poles and traffic signs were bent and broken. Metal barriers were perilously protruding onto the main Sliema roads. Al fresco restaurants on the Sliema front took a severe beating as awnings were thrashed and furnishing totalled.

Yacht-owners whose yachts were moored in Birgu experienced something extraordinary as the pontoon onto which the yachts were moored moved and was pushed closer to another pontoon, with all the yachts being sandwiched against each other.

Motorists with cars damaged by broken trees were left wondering how to dislodge their vehicles, while people from the Cleansing Department continued to clear the roads from any danger.

The government confirmed this evening that a total of 111 traffic incidents were related to the storm.

At Balluta Bay, scores of waste (mostly plastic and wood) was being carried out to sea
At Balluta Bay, scores of waste (mostly plastic and wood) was being carried out to sea

In Birkirkara’s recently restored Ġnien l-Istazzjon an age-old tree splintered while billboards in various parts of the island were flattened.

Insurance companies were inundated with calls from people claiming expenses or simply checking whether their policy covered the damage from to property from the storm.

READ MORE: Health warning after Xemxija fish-fest

Farmers were hard hit, trying to count the cost of damage and the loss of earnings as their livelihood was blown away by the strong winds.

Electric poles and traffic signs were smashed by fallen trees and other material
Electric poles and traffic signs were smashed by fallen trees and other material

In a statement, the government said it got in touch with the European Commission to initiate the process to tap into the European Solidarity Fund to recover the storm damage.

“To this effect, all government departments have officially commenced with studies in order to cost the extent of all damages,” EU funds Parliamentary Secretary Aaron Farrugia said.

The Water Services Corporation said the undersea water main between Malta and Gozo was impacted but supply in Gozo was unaffected.
“The incident reinforced the need for Gozo to have an autonomous water supply,” the corporation said, adding that work on the reverse osmosis plant at Ħondoq ir-Rummien was well underway.

The damage to the water main will be evaluated once the sea is calm, it added.

Heritage Malta reported some external damage to the visitors’ centre at the Ħaġar Qim and Mnajdra prehistoric temple complexes.
But the Egmont Hall in Fort St Angelo suffered considerable damage to its roof, the agency said.

Part of the boundary wall of the prehistoric site of Tas-Silġ in Marsaxlokk collapsed, while some structural damage was caused in one of the pavilions at St Paul’s Catacombs.

All Heritage Malta sites and museums opened to the general public as usual on Monday morning.

More in National