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    Storm Ciara: 8 people died in Europe

    The Brussels fire brigade carried out over 150 interventions, mainly concerning uprooted trees. Credit: Ukkel/Twitter

    The storm ‘Ciara’ has officially blown over, but on Monday and last night, there were still strong gusts of wind of up to 90 km/h and thunder.

    Across Europe, at least eight people died due to the storm. In Belgium, an elderly man in the town of Sint-Niklaas in the East-Flanders province died after becoming unwell while clearing up storm damage, reports Het Laatste Nieuws.

    In the Czech Republic, a man died after his car ended up under an uprooted tree. In Germany, too, a driver was killed after his truck crashed into a semi-trailer where road workers wanted to clean up rubble lying around from the motorway. The storm also caused deaths in Poland, Sweden, Slovenia and Great Britain, reports De Morgen.

    Air and train traffic was delayed, prevented and shut down in several countries, in thousands of homes in Europe the power went out, and many people were injured.

    In Belgium, the Brussels fire brigade carried out over 150 interventions, mainly concerning uprooted trees and objects such as gutters, flower boxes, windows, balconies, pieces of facade, road signs and tarpaulins, in danger of ending up on the street, from Monday to 7:00 AM on Tuesday, according to spokesperson Walter Derieuw.

    The fire brigade also removed all the zinc plates on the roof of the Cinquentenaire that were in danger of being blown away, said Derieuw.

    Additionally, Brussels has decided to keep parks in the city closed as a precaution until Wednesday morning due to the fierce winds predicted on Tuesday.

    Translation of tweet: “Extension of the closure of Brussels parks and green spaces until Wednesday 12 February in the morning!”

    In Ghent, a 300 square metre section of the roof of the Ghelamco Arena, the current stadium of the Belgian football club KAA Ghent, came loose as a result of the strong wind. The plates ended up on the parking lot of the Albert Heijn store nearby, but no one was injured, reports VRT.

    The fire brigade immediately checked whether any other sheets were loose. It is not yet clear how long it will take to repair the damage.

    In West-Flanders, more than 200 solar panels came loose from the roof of a brick factory in the municipality of Kortemark and caused a lot of damage in the vicinity, reports De Standaard.

    Cars parked close to the company were damaged, as some solar panels literally pierced the roofs. Two houses in the neighbourhood also suffered damage to windows and walls, and a solar panel also destroyed the outside air conditioning of a hotel.

    Maïthé Chini
    The Brussels Times