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Ophelia: Islamic centre in Dublin opens doors to homeless as storm hits

'It’s the minimum that we can do as humanitarians'

Rachael Revesz
Monday 16 October 2017 13:49 BST
Mosque is opening doors to homeless and anyone who is affected
Mosque is opening doors to homeless and anyone who is affected (Google Maps)

An Islamic Cultural Centre is opening its doors to the homeless and anyone in need during ex-Hurricane Ophelia.

The centre in Clonskeagh, Dublin, is welcoming neighbours during one of the worst storms to hit Ireland in half a century. Ophelia is expected to pummel the country with sustained winds of more than 50mph and gusts of around 80mph.

Malek Madani, who works in administration at the centre, told The Independent that the building was “open 24 hours for everyone”.

“We provide food and soup,” he said. “It’s the minimum that we can do as humanitarians. We try to contribute along with council organisations, who have helped us with beds, too.”

The category 1 storm, which was a category 3 hurricane over the weekend as it moved over the Atlantic, made landfall in County Kerry early Monday morning.

All schools have been closed for the day, motorists have been warned to keep off the roads and around 1,200 army personnel have been sent to help impacted areas with storm-related contingencies.

The Islamic Cultural Centre of Ireland wrote on Facebook: “Please stay safe everyone, especially during the times that the storm hits and its aftermath. Check in on your elderly and vulnerable neighbours, bring in your pets and make sure your bins and any other items that can be blown away are secured or brought in.”

Mr Madani said he expected other cultural centres in Dublin to open their doors.

Storm Ophelia's predicted path over Ireland and the UK

“They are part of society and they should too,” he said. “We never know [who will come during the storm] but we try to do our best.”

Local Aoife O’Riordan wrote on Twitter she had been to the centre several times “Cause they make the best damn schwarma [sic] in south Dublin and they've a lovely wee shop too”.

The Capuchin Day Centre in Dublin has also provided an extra 120 beds during the storm.

More than 100 flights have been cancelled from operators like Aer Lingus, and train and bus and tram services have been suspended.

Ophelia is expected to cause “potential risk to lives”, according to the national weather service, and could cause structural damage. One woman was killed when a tree fell on her car in Waterford.

Close to 100,000 homes and businesses were without power Monday morning. Footage and photos of the storm have shown the roof of Douglas Community School in Dublin being ripped off in high winds, as well as dozens of fallen trees across roads and downed power lines in County Kerry.

Ophelia comes more than 50 years after Hurricane Debbie, which killed 12 people in Ireland. Ophelia has also surpassed Hurricane Frances in 1980 as the most eastern storm on record in the Atlantic Basin.

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