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Flooded-out Northern Ireland families could be housed in mobile homes

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Eglinton Community Centre manager Debbie Caulfield (front centre) with local volunteers, council officials, church representatives, Red Cross volunteers and Salvation Army representatives with some of the donated clothes and food supplies

Eglinton Community Centre manager Debbie Caulfield (front centre) with local volunteers, council officials, church representatives, Red Cross volunteers and Salvation Army representatives with some of the donated clothes and food supplies

Drinking water for people affected by the floods

Drinking water for people affected by the floods

Piles of towels for people affected by the floods

Piles of towels for people affected by the floods

Eglinton Community Centre manager Debbie Caulfield (front centre) with local volunteers, council officials, church representatives, Red Cross volunteers and Salvation Army representatives with some of the donated clothes and food supplies

Housing Executive tenants made homeless by the floods that tore through the north west could be housed in mobile homes.

The idea is being explored as a temporary solution for up to 19 families in the Eglinton area of Londonderry where officials have been identifying possible sites.

"A total of 26 Housing Executive properties have been affected by the severe weather which hit the north west area," a Housing Executive spokesman said.

"Of these, 19 properties were severely damaged with seven others receiving minor damage due to the flooding.

"We are currently exploring the possibility of securing a number of mobile homes to help with accommodation for those affected in the Eglinton area."

Families from the village which was one of the worst affected areas will find out in the coming days if they will be offered a mobile home until they can return to their own house. One woman, who has a 10-year-old daughter, said it would solve a lot of problems for her.

She said: "We spent the first two days after the flood in a B&B and we are in emergency accommodation in Derry now.

"However, my daughter goes to school in Eglinton so it is going to be a nightmare getting her to school.

"I lost my car in the flood too so I will have to get buses to and from Eglinton every day.

"I don't particularly want to live in a mobile home, especially coming into the cold weather, but it really would solve a lot of problems for me until we get back to our own house."

In nearby Drumahoe, dozens of families and businesses also felt the full force of the flood.

Among them is the Circle of Support Group - a centre for autistic children and their parents which has had to close because of the damage to its premises.

David Campbell, chairman of the group, said he hopes they will be able to reopen very soon.

He said: "It is very disheartening to see the damage.

"There were a lot of sentimental things lost, like photographs, artwork and newspaper clippings.

"These things are irreplaceable, but the support we have been getting has been great.

"We hope to open again in the next two or three weeks."

The floods have also left many farmers facing financial burdens because of destruction of crops and loss of livestock.

A spokesman for the Department of Agriculture (DAERA) said given the adverse effect on farm businesses, it would seek permission from the European Union to raise the Common Agriculture Payments given to farmers by 20%.

He said: "DAERA recognises the hardship incurred by the farming and wider rural communities and is focused on providing practical on the ground support for those impacted. It is implementing a number of measures to help those affected.

"Given the adverse effects on a number of farm businesses, the department will liaise with DEFRA to seek permission from the EU to allow it to raise the level of advanced CAP payments made in October from 50% to 70%."

The Western Trust has launched a listening ear service for victims of the flooding.

The number to call if you have been affected is 07903 990897, Monday and Friday from 9am-5pm.

Belfast Telegraph