Updated at 5.17pm 

Farmers suffered a huge level of damage to their crops and structures as winds reaching speeds of 101km/h battered the island on Sunday, with losses amounting to tens of thousands of euros each.

“Most farmers do not remember this much damage or such strong winds,” Malcolm Borg from the Għaqda Bdiewa Attivi told Times of Malta.

“Those with greenhouses were the most affected: they suffered a double whammy with the loss of their structures and the high-value crops inside.”

Mr Borg said full-time and intensive farmers would also have had a lot of crops at this time of year as it tended to be a good time to put greenhouse crops on the market.

These farmers, he said, would effectively have to start from scratch:  “Their very livelihood has been threatened: they have woken up to find everything they’ve worked for over the last months completely gone.”

Insurance, Mr Borg added, was unlikely to go far in compensating for the damage, as insurance companies have said they do not have enough data to offer schemes to protect farmers.

Prime Minister Joseph Muscat said on Sunday that Malta would be looking to tap EU solidarity funds to help alleviate the burden.

The Nationalist Party called for "urgent compensation" for farmers and suggested the creation of an expert task force to draw up a report on damages farmers had incurred. 

"We urge the government to create insurance schemes for farmers, to protect them from these incidents," said Nationalist MP and spokesman for agriculture Edwin Vassallo and MEP candidate Peter Agius in a statement. 

‘We have never had to cancel a race before’

The organisers of the Malta Marathon expressed their dismay at having to cancel a race for the first time in 34 years, but insisted the stormy weather left them with no choice.

The annual race was officially called off late on Saturday, with organisers saying that while they were ready to brave the weather, the worsening conditions meant cancellation was the only way to ensure safety.

Some 4,900 runners had been set to take part, with many having flown in from overseas specifically for the event.

“We delayed the decision as long as we were hoping things would get better, but we had to think about the safety not only of the athletes, but of the volunteers, the public and third-party contractors,” organiser Joe Micallef told Times of Malta.

Photos: Storm turns Malta's roads into an obstacle course 

“In a sense, we are relieved that the weather turned out the way it did because at least we didn’t cancel in vain: it really would have been dangerous for everyone involved. In fact, the vast majority commended us on the decision.”

Mr Micallef said the organising team would now be examining the balance books - he estimated expenses that had already been paid before the cancellation in the tens of thousands - and looking into the possibility of offering a discount to those who want to take part again next year. 

“We were always clear that refunds would not be possible even if the race were cancelled. Unfortunately this is something that happens sometimes all over the world.”

Cat shelter 'desperate' for help

A Cospicua cat shelter that cares for around 300 cats made a desperate call for volunteer help on Sunday afternoon, as organisers struggled to keep up with storm damage.

"We are not coping as we are right now," Carers for Stray and Abandoned Felines wrote on Facebook. "We know that everyone wants to stay cosy at home, but the cats need to eat no matter what the weather conditions are". 

Sign up to our free newsletters

Get the best updates straight to your inbox:
Please select at least one mailing list.

You can unsubscribe at any time by clicking the link in the footer of our emails. We use Mailchimp as our marketing platform. By subscribing, you acknowledge that your information will be transferred to Mailchimp for processing.