Belfast Telegraph

Watch: Drone footage captures extent of flooding across parts of Northern Ireland

Cars washed into the river Faughan in Drumahoe, Londonderry, after heavy rain left a trail of destruction. Niall Carson/PA Wire
Cars washed into the river Faughan in Drumahoe, Londonderry, after heavy rain left a trail of destruction. Niall Carson/PA Wire
Damage to a road next to the river Faughan in Drumahoe, Londonderry, after heavy rain left a trail of destruction. Niall Carson/PA Wire
People look at trees and vehicles in the river Faughan in Drumahoe, Londonderry, after heavy rain left a trail of destruction. Niall Carson/PA Wire
Two men look at cars washed into the river Faughan in Drumahoe, Londonderry, after heavy rain left a trail of destruction. Niall Carson/PA Wire
A collapsed road in the village of Claudy, Londonderry, after heavy rain left a trail of destruction. Niall Carson/PA Wire
Trees and vehicles in the river Faughan in Drumahoe, Londonderry, after heavy rain left a trail of destruction. Niall Carson/PA Wire
The scene in Claudy after after overnight weather caused major disruption.
The scene in Claudy after after overnight weather caused major disruption.
The scene in Claudy after after overnight weather caused major disruption.
The scene in Claudy after after overnight weather caused major disruption.
The downpours from the Atlantic Ocean hit Co Donegal before moving across Northern Ireland
Heavy rain brings chaos to Northern Ireland
Flooding on the main Derry to Buncrana Road at Skeoge Roundabout.
Flooding in Galliagh Park, Londonderry. This gentleman evacuated his mother-in-law as fears of water getting into houses after a manhole cover started spewing up water.
Flooding on the main Derry to Letterkenny Road.

By Michael Sheils McNamee and Claire Williamson

A clean-up operation is underway after flash flooding caused devastation across Northern Ireland.

The Met Office said two-thirds of the average rainfall for all of August came down in Northern Ireland on Tuesday night.

The downpour took place over an eight-to nine-hour period, and a number of agencies responded to the high volume of distress calls coming in from the public.

Firefighters rescued 93 people from their cars or homes who were trapped by the flood water.

The Fire Service received 402 emergency calls between 7pm on Tuesday evening and 4am on Wednesday morning.

At the peak, the Fire Service's Regional Control Centre was dealing with a call every 45 seconds.

Dramatic footage captured the moment a road collapsed in Drumahoe.

As a result of the flooding, Derry City & Strabane District Council activated its emergency plans and opened respite centres at the Foyle Arena on the Limavady Road and also in Eglinton, where flooding had a serious impact.

The Foyle Arena on the Limavady Road is now open to anyone whose home has been affected by tonight's flooding and who...

Posted by Derry City & Strabane District Council on Tuesday, August 22, 2017

The Department of Communities confirmed the scheme offering emergency financial assistance to those impacted by the flooding will be made available by councils.

Under the scheme those affected can apply for an immediate payment of £1,000, which is to go towards making homes hospitable again.

In a statement the department said: “Following recent incidents of flooding, individual householders who have suffered severe inconvenience can claim £1,000 payment from their local council, as an offer of practical assistance.

"The payment is meant to ensure that homes are made habitable as quickly as possible. It is not a compensation payment.

"If you feel that you may be entitled to the payment, contact your Council as soon as possible and they will arrange for an urgent inspection of your property. If the Council decides that your claim is eligible, you will receive your payment promptly.”

Across the country, and particularly in the Londonderry and Tyrone areas, there has been substantial damage to people's homes by the flooding.

As a result of the downpour the Ballynamee Bridge on the Cumber Road in Claudy has collapsed.

SDLP MLA for Foyle Mark H Durkan said now wasn't the time for the "blame game" but that questions would need to be answered.

"Last night's incident was unprecedented in terms of the scale of stress caused and damage caused to property," he told the Nolan Show.

"I was out at homes trying to help people in very stressful situations seeing their belongings being washed away before their eyes."

Mr Durkan said he will never forget the sound of the anguish in people's voices as they rang him for help along with the images of the vast amount of water.

He added: "Now is not the time for the blame game but questions will need to be answered in the coming days and weeks, that this part of the world in Foyle was not prepared or equipped to deal with an incident of this scale.

We were not equipped and that was a fact MLA Mark H Durkan

Mr Durkan said work was done around flood response when there was a Stormont Executive in place but "sadly it was lacking in terms of on the ground here in Derry last night".

Northern Ireland Fire & Rescue Service responded to 85 incidents as a result of the heavy rainfall, with 87% of these happening in the Western Area.

In a statement, assistant chief fire and rescue officer Alan Walmsley said: "Firefighters worked in extremely challenging circumstances to reach people.  A number of roads were impassable due to flooding and crews had to take alternative routes to attend some incidents.

"We worked closely with colleagues from the Irish Coastguard Agency, PSNI, Ambulance Service, Foyle Search and Rescue and local Councils, to respond to incidents to assist members of the public.  Our specialist teams including the Water Rescue Teams and Specialist Rescue Team from Belfast were deployed and worked alongside local operational crews."

DUP leader Arlene Foster is due to meet with those impacted later.

Wednesday flights in and out of the City of Derry Airport have been cancelled.

Local SDLP MLA Daniel McCrossan posted a number of pictures to Facebook of flooding at the airport.

Public notice! Derry City Airport has been closed and all of today's flights have been cancelled. Considerable flooding also.

Posted by Daniel Wray McCrossan Mla on Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Overnight on Tuesday roads closed in Derry included the Strabane Old Road, the lower deck of the Craigavon Bridge, and the Victoria Road between Newbuildings and the Everglades Hotel.

The football grounds of Londonderry-based Institute FC were also flooded.

Speaking about the damage, Institute FC chairman Bill Anderson said:  "I'm gutted for the club and gutted for the volunteers who have all put in a lot of work over the summer in terms of the pitch and the refurbishment of the changing rooms.

"All we can do at the minute is wait until the water subsides and we can get a look at the damage but from what we can see, it's a disaster."

One post on social media showed a car being swept under a bridge in the Drumahoe area of Derry.

Car goes under bridge on main road, Drumahoe.

Posted by Craig Lamrock on Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Coastguard Rescue Teams were also called out to a number of incidents of flash flooding, and worked with the Lough Neagh Swiftwater Rescue Teams.

The PSNI has asked drivers in affected areas to be careful and drive with care.

Anyone who has been impacted by serious flooding is urged to contact the NI Flooding Incident Line on 0300 2000 100.

Belfast Telegraph Digital

Popular

From Belfast Telegraph