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Storm Ciaran lashes Europe, taking heavy toll

Published : 03 Nov 2023, 01:51

  DF News Desk
File Photo: Xinhua.

Storm Ciaran lashed several countries in Europe Thursday, causing deaths and injuries, closing schools and damaging infrastructure, reported Xinhua.

As gales exceeded 100 km per hour, a falling tree hit two pedestrians in a park in the Belgian city of Ghent, 50 km northwest of the capital Brussels, killing one of them and leaving the other with a broken leg, local police confirmed.

Another storm-triggered accident in the same city killed a five-year-old child, police said without elaborating.

In France, the disastrous weather caused two deaths: a truck driver and a man who fell from his balcony amid violent winds.

The Netherlands reported at least one death caused by falling trees in Venray, a small town in the Dutch province of Limburg, local media reported.

It said several people were injured in similar accidents.

Strong gales uprooted trees also in the Spanish capital Madrid, killing a woman and injuring three other people, said the city's fire brigade.

The fire brigade in Madrid received 607 reports of wind damage, and responded to 124 incidents between midnight and 1 p.m. local time.

City authorities closed all parks in Madrid Thursday for safety reasons.

On Thursday, violent winds and rain disrupted air, sea and rail traffic in several European airports, causing flight cancellations in Spain and the Netherlands, closing several terminals at the port of Rotterdam and slowing down trains throughout Belgium.

In France, storm Ciaran affected signal towers and cut mobile communication for at least a million subscribers.

Meanwhile, it damaged power supply networks in the United Kingdom and France, leaving thousands of homes without power.

As of 6 p.m. Thursday, more than 684,000 households in France's Brittany and Normandy were still waiting for power supplies to resume.

In the UK, across Devon and Cornwall, Sussex, Surrey and the Channel Islands, power supplies were affected by strong winds and heavy rains, UK Power Networks said.

More than 300 schools in southern England have been closed amid warnings that the storm could be life-threatening. Some schools will remain shut on Friday.

About 40 people in Jersey were evacuated after their homes were damaged, as wind speeds have hit highs of 104 mph (about 167 kph) on the island.

"We're still dealing with a lot of calls and working with partners to assess road conditions. Please continue to stay indoors unless your travel is essential," Jersey Fire and Rescue Service said.

Photos and videos posted online showed roads blocked by fallen trees, rooftops blown off, and windows shattered as a result of the storm.

Storm Ciaran has set a new record for the lowest sea level pressure recorded in England and Wales in November, according to the Met Office, the country's national meteorological service.