Infrastructure Minister Ian Borg has deflected criticism of newly completed road projects not being immune to flooding, chalking up yesterday’s flooded roads to “extraordinary rain”.

Malta faced intense flooding, with vehicles being carried away, walls collapsing and motorists becoming trapped in their cars as one month’s worth of rainfall descended on the island in the span of the morning. 

Despite boasting a €400 million investment in upgrading road infrastructure, recently completed projects such as the Marsa Junction and Tal-Balal road were overwhelmed by the volumes of rainwater that flowed through them on Thursday. 

Farmers also criticised recently built rubble walls in Burmarrad that collapsed, worsening the damage to crops. 

Ian Borg speaks to the media after the flooding. Video: Karl Andrew Micallef

Speaking to journalists on Friday, Borg deflected criticism that roads projects had not anticipated extreme weather events. 

“I have to say that yesterday’s rain, as in many other countries, we saw a volume of rain the likes of which we have never seen before,” Borg said. 

“We are committed to keep investing to make sure we lessen the effects of such events as much as we can, but we can never eliminate natural disasters.”

He added that such weather events were the tangible impact of climate change and it should serve as a reminder that sticking to measures that reduce global temperatures are crucial now more than ever. 

Asked why the government had not thought to anticipate the impact of climate change, or whether projects had made use of outdated technology to tackle flood relief, Borg doubled down and again said that yesterday’s events were out of the norm. 

“This is not a question of resigning yourself to the inevitable nor is it the case that nobody thought of it,” Borg said.

“Yesterday the entire country saw truckloads of soil being carried away by the rain and clogging up the roads. These are extraordinary situations and those are always going to happen."

When asked why the government had not thought to anticipate extraordinary situations when planning huge infrastructure projects, he declined to answer. 

He said that it was also too early to answer whether the government planned to offer compensation to people whose homes and businesses had flooded,  saying that the priority was to make sure that people were safe.

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