Malta weeps over ‘terrible blaze’ at Notre Dame

The President of Malta has spoken of his ‘deep sorrow’ following the catastrophic fire at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris.

George Vella tweeted: ‘Deep sorrow in witnessing the horrible incident of Notre Dame Cathedral. A huge loss not only to the French people , but to the whole world.’

The President said he was ‘very saddened by the events at Notre Dame Cathedral, describing it as ‘a symbol of universal heritage and culture’.

He added: ‘Paris in our thoughts.’

The blaze left the French nation mourning the devastation of its treasured landmark.

Malta’s prime minister Joseph Muscat tweeted his solidarity with the people of Paris.

The Archbishop of Malta Charles Scicluna said he was ‘horrified at the tragic loss of religious and cultural heritage as we watch Notre Dame de Paris burning’.

He added: ‘Our prayers and support with the Archdiocese of Paris, with Paris, with France.’

Hundreds of heroic firefighters tackled the blaze through the night, battling to stop its complete destruction.

Rescue teams raced to recover what treasures they could from the 850-year-old Gothic masterpiece, which housed priceless artefacts and relics of huge religious and international significance.

Malta’s Opposition leader Adrian Delia took to Twitter to express his ‘shock’ at the news.

Malta’s foreign minister Carmelo Abela described it as ‘a terrible evening for Paris, for France and for the entire humanity.

‘The people of Malta stand by hoping that this cultural treasure, the Notre Dame Cathedral, survives this ordeal.’

Attention is beginning to turn to what may have caused the landmark, part of which was being restored, to fall victim to such a disaster.

Police said they were treating the blaze as a tragic accident, and not arson or terrorism.