Poland's forestry authorities say it will take them until 2019 to clear away trees that were broken and felled last weekend by extremely heavy winds in the northwest and central part of the country.

They say the losses on some 45,000 hectares (111,195 acres) are the worst ever registered by the state forestry authorities, who were founded in 1924. Falling trees also destroyed animal habitats and killed many animals, the State Forests body said Wednesday.

Army troops and firefighters were helping local communities remove fallen trees and secure damaged houses, chiefly in Gdansk, Torun and Szczecin area.

The government has faced criticism that it reacted too slowly and sent the military with aid days after the disaster, in which six people died Friday and Saturday.