Rough seas and strong winds had workers operating round the clock to clear 177 tonnes of debris washed ashore along Malta’s east coast.

The strong winds subsided yesterday but rough seas continued to wash ashore the carcasses of smashed wooden boats, tonnes of seaweed and all sorts of debris.

In Xemxija, the waves crashing against the coastline yesterday also claimed the life of a large tuna fish that had to be lifted out of the water by crane.

Ramon Deguara, head of the Infrastructure Ministry’s Cleansing Directorate, said 80 tonnes of debris were collected on Saturday and 97 tonnes yesterday as employees were dispatched to the stricken localities.

From Għadira to St Paul’s Bay, from Baħar iċ-Ċagħaq to Sliema and from Xgħajra to Marsascala, none of the coastal areas were spared the onslaught of the gregale, a north-easterly wind.

Mr Deguara said his department’s resources were stretched beyond the limit and had to draw on personnel and machinery from other entities within the ministry.

“There were 70 employees working at full stretch yesterday and another 60 on Saturday,” he added.

In Xemxija alone, eight trucks full of debris, mostly wood and seaweed, were removed from the area yesterday. By the evening most of the areas had been cleaned, with the exception of St Thomas Bay in Marsascala, where the road leading to the boathouses was still covered in seaweed.

Scene of destruction

Pieces of wood and silt covered the road as cars navigated carefully at the sight of a battered skip washed several metres away from its posting.

This was the scene in Marsascala over the past 48 hours as the north-easterly wind brought massive waves crashing inside the bay.

The waste separation skips at Mifsud Bonnici Square floated off as seawater flooded the low-lying pavement, bringing ashore the wooden remains of broken boats.

At the Portomaso Marina, boats got a slimy makeover

It was a scene of destruction replicated with much bigger intensity in other coastal areas along the island’s eastern shores.

In Xemxija and Buġibba, piles of seaweed and wood had to be removed to clear the roads, while in the Sliema and St Julian’s area seaside hotels were damaged.

A wedding scheduled at the Radisson ballroom in St Julian’s on Saturday night had to be shifted to the nearby Corinthia San Ġorġ after the hall was flooded with seawater. A similar fate hit a diving company’s quarters at the Exiles as the gregale wind lashed relentlessly.

A foamy residue brought in by the waves plagued the Portomaso Marina as luxury boats got a slimy makeover.

Meanwhile, throughout yesterday and on Saturday, tonnes of debris were collected by workers of the Infrastructure Ministry’s Cleansing Department as they tried to clear the roads and ensure accessibility.

Workers could be seen using heavy machinery to remove bulky waste as well as their hands to clear storm water ducts that were blocked.

Weather conditions improved throughout the day, yesterday. According to the Meteorological Office at Malta International Airport rain is expected to hit the island today. The wind is expected to die down to a Force 2.

Photos: Steve Zammit Lupi and Chris Sant Fournier.

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