Watch: Cars carried away by floodwaters as month’s worth of rain pelts Malta
People trapped in cars, homes flooded, walls collapse
Flash floods carried away cars, collapsed walls and trapped motorists in their submerged vehicles after a month’s worth of rain fell in a matter of hours on Thursday.
Police and army units were deployed as roads turned into rivers, leading to multiple water rescues and road closures throughout the day.
An overwhelmed Civil Protection Department appealed for people to avoid valleys and areas close to the sea. There were no reports of fatalities.
But two of their own officers had to be rescued by an Armed Forces of Malta helicopter as they got into difficulty rescuing an elderly man trapped in his car in Burmarrad. All three were airlifted to safety.
In another dramatic scene, a family of four was stranded on the roof of their taxi in Salina as the water rose around them. Eventually they had to use a rope to wade across to safety.
“Reports indicate that this is one of the worst storms we have had in a long time,” said the CPD, who doubled its officers on duty to cope with “the influx of calls for assistance”.
Initially the CPD focussed its entire operation on rescue work, but by Thursday evening, a clean-up operation began and it started responding to non-urgent calls.
The Met Office issued an amber weather warning in the morning and revealed that an average of 74.6mm of rain fell, with one weather station in Selmun measuring 107.6mm in 24 hours.
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