Belfast Telegraph

Two walls collapse in Derry in two days... now it’s feared the next incident could kill

Someone could die if damage like this continues: residents

Two collapsed walls in different parts of Londonderry have sparked fears that more rain will wreak further destruction.

A section of a 50ft high retaining wall in Harding Street, off Abercorn Road in Derry, fell the day after three vehicles were buried under rubble in Malborough Street when part of a similar wall collapsed.

Residents of six affected homes fear someone will die if the walls are further weakened.

Paula Carlin has lived in her Harding Street home with her husband Michael for 34 years.

She returned home to find the wall at the back of the house in Harding Street had fallen into the laneway, 46ft below.

She said: “I noticed a large crack had appeared on the wall just before I went shopping but when I came back home less that two hours later the whole wall was gone.

“I rang the council and initially they said that because these are all privately owned houses it wasn't their responsibility, and only came when we said people use the lane below and someone could die.

“Our insurance agent came. He said it could take months to get things sorted because no one seems to know who owns the wall.

“It's been there for almost 130 years and is made of stone and clay which is why it just washed away in the heavy rain.

“Our big fear is, now that it is exposed will the rest of the ground which is essentially our back yard disappear too?

“The section of the wall that runs below our next door neighbours house is already bulging and it looks really unstable.

“People from different council departments did eventually show up, but took pictures and left without telling us anything so we feel a bit in the dark.

“The Fire Service came out and told us not to let anyone past our back door and also told us to drain our oil tank in case more does fall and our entire yard ends up in the lane.

“I have my nine grandchildren and their parents all coming here for Christmas day and Boxing day. We won't be able to let the children out the door.

A spokesman for Derry City Council said: “Officers from a number of departments, including Building Control, City Engineers and Environmental Health visited the sites on a number of occasions to cordon them off and make them safe as well as erect signage and liaise directly between residents and local elected representatives.

“The council worked to assist with the removal of oil and assist residents in making contact with insurance companies so that the necessary arrangements can be made to clear the debris and undertake repairs.

“Council is currently in the process of setting up a meeting with residents affected by both incidents and elected representatives to review what action has been taken and to discuss what further assistance Council can provide.”

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