Belfast Telegraph

£12m bill for Northern Ireland flooding

 

By Donna Deeney

A raft of measures to be put in place after last summer's flooding in the north west may not be complete for another two years, according to an official report.

The final cost of repairs to family homes, farmland and businesses devastated by nine hours of heavy rainfall in Co Londonderry was £12m.

A Stormont review of the severe damage has made 14 recommendations in a bid to prevent a repeat.

Some 400 homes were affected by the flood waters.

Water rose to more than a metre in parts of Drumahoe, but one of the worst affected areas was St Canice's Park in Eglinton, where dozens of families remained out of their homes for months.

They include Jeannett Morrow and her husband Alwyn, who only returned to their house six weeks ago.

They will be among those attending a public information event tomorrow seeking reassurances about their properties.

Mrs Morrow said: "I haven't seen all the details of the report but I am concerned that it will take up to two years for all the recommendations to be put in place. What worries me more than that is that there is no guarantee this will not happen again.

"The River Muff runs along the back of St Canice's but there are no bankings, so every time it rains now I run out to see if it is rising, and that's no way to for anyone to have to live. I have a lot of questions and I hope I can get the reassurance I need so we can live in our home without fear of flooding again."

The review made 14 recommendations, including improving the delivery of the flooding incident line (FIL), streamlining financial assistance to councils and "emotional support and wellbeing" for those affected by future emergencies.

The report revealed almost 1,200 calls were made to the FIL on August 22, with 859 calls answered and 319 abandoned.

Some 380 calls were made on August 23, with 340 answered and 40 abandoned.

The report also documents the chronic damage done to the north west's infrastructure.

Sixty roads were cut off by the deluge and five bridges washed away. More than 200 farms were affected by the raging waters and hundreds of sheep and cows were drowned.

Jonathan McKee from the Department for Infrastructure's rivers division said the next step will be to get a timeline for the recommendations to be implemented.

Mr McKee said: "It is envisioned that the recommendations will be completed within two years, with some much sooner than that.

"The review was very positive in terms of the multi-agency co-ordination and said the response was timely and effective."

Belfast Telegraph

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