Storm Ciara hits UK and Europe with hurricane-force winds, causing travel chaos

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Large waves and sea spray caused by Storm Ciara hit vehicles being driven along the seafront in Newhaven, UK. (Reuters)
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People walk along the promenade as waves crest in the mouth of the River Mersey, opposite Liverpool Container Port, north west England, on February 9, 2020, as Storm Ciara swept over the country. (AFP)
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Travelers wait at the departure hall of Amsterdam's Schiphol airport on February 9, after many flights have been cancelled due to storm Ciara. (AFP)
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Pedestrians look on as waves crash over the coastline at Wimeureux, Pas-de-Calais, in northern France on February 9, 2020, as Storm Ciara sweeps across western Europe. (AFP)
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People view large waves caused by Storm Ciara as they hit the the seafront and wall in Newhaven. (Reuters)
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Cars are seen submerged as flood water covers the roads and car parks in Mytholmroyd, northern England, on February 9, 2020, after the River Calder burst its banks as Storm Ciara swept over the country. (AFP)
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Members of the fire brigade deal with dmamage caused by the wind, in Blackpool, northwest England on February 9, 2020, as Storm Ciara swept over the country. (AFP)
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A fan walks outside the Etihad Stadium during storm Ciara after the Manchester City v. West Ham United Premier League game was postponed. (Reuters)
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A supporter stands in front of a panel reading "On February 9th, 2020, Borussia against Cologne is cancelled" hanging from the Borussia Park stadium's gate in Moenchengladbach, western Germany on February 9, 2020. (AFP)
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Updated 09 February 2020

Storm Ciara hits UK and Europe with hurricane-force winds, causing travel chaos

  • Winds their peak at 150kph in northern Welsh village of Aberdaron
  • Events across Britain, Germany and Netherlands postponed, including Manchester City Premier League game

LONDON: Storm Ciara battered the UK and northern Europe on Sunday with hurricane-level winds and heavy rains, which led to grounded flights, canceled trains and closed ports. 



Events across Britain, Germany and the Netherlands were postponed, including a Premier League football match involving Manchester City and West Ham United, as authorities urged millions of people to stay indoors, away from falling tree branches.




A fan walks outside the Etihad Stadium during storm Ciara after the Manchester City v. West Ham United Premier League game was postponed. (Reuters)

Named “Ciara” by the UK Met Office weather agency, but known as “Sabine” in Germany, the storm brought massive gusts that hit their peak at 150 kilometers per hour in the northern Welsh village of Aberdaron. Storm surges ate away at beaches and pounded rock cliffs and cement docks.


In response, the Met Office issued 190 emergency flood warnings and another 170 flood watch alerts, urging people not to try to drive through flooded roads.

Three people were injured after a roof partially collapsed on Saturday evening in the city of Perth in central Scotland.

At least 10 rail companies in Britain sent out “do not travel” warnings, while nearly 20 others told passengers to expect extensive delays. The strong winds damaged electrical wires and littered train tracks with broken tree limbs and other debris, including a family trampoline.

London’s Heathrow Airport and several airlines were forced to consolidate flights on Sunday to reduce the number of cancelation due to the high winds.

British Airways offered to rebook customers for domestic and European flights out of Heathrow, Gatwick and London City airports. Virgin Airlines canceled some flights.

Brussels Airport in Belgium and Amsterdam's Schipol Airport also saw delays or cancelations.




Travelers wait at the departure hall of Amsterdam's Schiphol airport on February 9, after many flights have been cancelled due to storm Ciara. (AFP)

Two huge ports on either side of the English Channel, Dover in England and Calais in France, shut down operations amid high waves. Ferries were canceled across the region, including in the turbulent Irish Sea.

Breaking with her usual Sunday routine, Queen Elizabeth II did not attend church in Sandringham due to high winds.

In Ireland, power was knocked to an estimated 10,000 homes, farms and businesses. National weather agency Met Eireann warned that a combination of high tides, high seas and stormy conditions had created a significant risk of coastal flooding, particularly in the west and northwest.




Cars are seen submerged as flood water covers the roads and car parks in Mytholmroyd, northern England, on February 9, 2020, after the River Calder burst its banks as Storm Ciara swept over the country. (AFP)

Fierce winds knocked out electricity in northern France as well. Parks and cemeteries in the city of Lille and nearby towns shut down as strong winds cracked heavy branches and threatened to fell trees. Open-air markets also closed early Sunday.

Luxembourg announced that all schoolchildren could stay home Monday as a result of the storm.

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READ MORE: Riders in the storm: Dutch cyclists brave Storm Ciara in ‘Headwind Championships’

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In Germany, national railway operator Deutsche Bahn canceled long-distance trains to destinations most at risk from the storm, including Emden and Norddeich in Germany’s northwestern corner, the northern city of Kiel and the North Sea island of Sylt.

In the world of sports, dozens of soccer games, horse races, rugby matches and other events were called off, with the Dutch and Belgian football associations calling off all matches in their top-flight leagues due to safety concerns.

(With AP)


Military promises Pakistani doctors gear to fight virus

Updated 07 April 2020

Military promises Pakistani doctors gear to fight virus

  • Some of the doctors said they were mistreated by police and that some of their colleagues were beaten
  • The health ministry’s spokesman, Kianoush Jahanpour, said 27,039 people have recovered so far while 3,987 remain in critical condition

QUETTA, Pakistan: Pakistan’s military promised Tuesday that dozens of doctors who were briefly jailed for protesting a lack of protective equipment needed to treat the growing number of coronavirus cases will get the equipment they need.
The 47 doctors protested in Quetta, the capital of southwestern Baluchistan province, on Monday, when they were detained. They were released later the same day, according to provincial spokesman Liaquat Shahwani.
An army statement on Tuesday said the “emergency supplies of medical equipment, including PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) are being dispatched to Quetta.”
However, some of the doctors said they were mistreated by police and that some of their colleagues were beaten. The physicians declined to give their names, fearing reprisals.
Two doctors have died after contracting the new virus in Pakistan, which has recorded 4,004 cases and 54 deaths. Many of the cases have been traced to pilgrims returning from neighboring Iran. Pakistani authorities have imposed a countrywide lockdown until April 14.
In Iran, authorities struggling to battle the virus announced Tuesday they would expand testing to asymptomatic people, but didn’t say how many test kits they have available or provide other details.
Iran’s Health Minister Saeed Namaki said that with active screening of such cases, there are expectations the virus and COVID-19, the illness it causes, can be brought under control by mid-May.
“With this step, we will go after people without symptoms,” said Namaki, adding this would require a large number of tests. He didn’t elaborate. The health ministry said searching for asymptomatic cases would be combined with restrictions on both city and intercity travel and quarantine.
Iran is facing the worst outbreak in the region. Iran’s state TV said Tuesday the new coronavirus has killed another 133 people, pushing the country’s death toll to 3,872 amid 62,589 confirmed cases.
The health ministry’s spokesman, Kianoush Jahanpour, said 27,039 people have recovered so far while 3,987 remain in critical condition.
There are nearly 109,000 confirmed cases across the Middle East, with more than 4,600 fatalities.
In Egypt, the Ministry of Religious Endowments, which oversees mosques nationwide, called off all celebrations and late-evening prayer services for Ramadan, the holiest month of the Islamic calendar. The holiday, when devout Muslims fast from sunrise to sunset, begins April 23. Mosques and churches have already closed for prayer to curb the spread of the virus in the Arab world’s most populous country. There is also a nightly curfew but the government has resisted a harsher lockdown.
President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi on Tuesday sought to reassure the jittery public a day after officials reported 149 new infections, bringing the case count to 1,320 and 85 fatalities in the biggest single-day jump so far.
“So far, the situation is under control,” he said in televised comments. “The goal is to minimize the damage caused by the pandemic.”
The Egyptian military, at the forefront of the country’s fight against the virus, said it set up four field hospitals with more than 500 beds to help treat virus patients.
For most people, the new coronavirus causes mild to moderate symptoms such as fever and cough. But for some, especially older adults and the infirm, it can cause pneumonia and lead to death.
At a retirement home ravaged by the coronavirus in the southern Israeli city of Beersheba, another resident died, the eighth so far there. Dozens of the home’s resident’s have been infected and relatives have been staging angry protests outside the premises in recent days.
Overall, more than 9,000 have been infected in Israel and 60 have died, the vast majority elderly and many in assisted living facilities.