E.F.R.U. Volunteers assists CPD on Monday 25th October after Heavy Rains hits Malta

October 29, 2010 in General

Personnel and heavy plant assets from various Armed Forces of Malta’s units were earlier today mobilised to assist the Civil Protection Department (CPD), as last night’s heavy rainfall caused several flash flood situations in a number of localities around Malta. No injuries were reported, but CPD and AFM rescuers were actively involved throughout the morning in debris-clearing operations and rescuing drivers from stalled vehicles.

Strong northwesternly winds characterised last night’s rainstorm,attimesblowingat 14 knots. CPD issued 3 warnings this morning, urging people and motorists to keep off the roads, given the dangerous conditions caused by heavy rain. The most critical no-go areas were those of Msida, Birkirkara’s Valley Road, Burmarrad and Qormi.

The heavy rain severely flooded roads, and in several localitiestherainwaters dragged cars and pedestrians alike along with the current. Several cars were badly damaged when they were carried by strong floodwaters in Qormi, which was reportedly among the worst hit areas by the heavy downpours overnight. A number of homes and commercial premises alike in other low lying areas were also flooded by the heavy downpour.

The most significantly hit areas were those of Balzan, Qormi, Birkirkara, Siggiewi and Msida. The heavy downpours caused much traffic chaos and grid-lock on main road networks or arteries, particularly in the localities of Marsa, Siggiewi, Zabbar/Marsascala and Swieqi.

As traffic jams in several localities started to increase, AFM personnel from 3 Regiment’s Plant Troop in Silvercity, St. Andrews were the first to be deployed with a bulldozer to help clear rainwater debris that accumulated at the St. Andrews’ Roads’ traffic light junction. A number of stalled cars which were obstructing the traffic flow were also cleared.

Other personnel from 1st Regiment were also deployed to the critical areas of Balzan Valley, the Lija Cemetery on Naxxar Road, and to the University Circle at Msida Heights, so as to deter drivers from using these roads which were deemed extremely dangerous by CPD rescuers. In Lija, the force of the water lifted the heavy manhole covers. The AFM Plant Troop’s heavy equipment was again put to use later on in Qormi to clear jam-packed vehicles, which were obstructing water flow in the valley. Public Cleansing Department have also started clearing the roads from debris, including stones from many rubble walls that collapsed, notably in the Rabat area.

Volunteers from the Emergency Fire Rescue Unit also assisted the CPD in its efforts.

The CPD has withdrawn its alert to the general public at 1030h, and asked for caution while driving. Msida, Birkirkara Valley Road, Burmarrad and Qormi are the worst hit localities. Clear-up operations however are still underway. Rain is expected to continue until early Wednesday.

Justice Minister Carm Mifsud Bonnici thanked all those who had contributed to preserving order amidst the panic, including the Civil Protection Department, the volunteers from S.P.I.D.E.R, the police, the Armed Forces the employees at Enemalta, the Emergency Fire and Rescue Unit and volunteers from the St. John’s Rescue Corps. He also thanked the media for their crucial role in disseminating information to the public.

by www.di-ve.com – [email protected]