Belfast Telegraph

Anger as residents deal with the damage caused by flooding havoc in north west

By Donna Deeney

The swell of water that caused untold damage to hundreds of homes across the north west during Tuesday night's storm is subsiding.

However, anger is growing among those who suffered damage to their homes.

People living in some of the worst affected areas - such as Drumahoe and Eglinton in Co Londonderry - now face months out of their homes.

Some are questioning why the weather warning was not at a level higher than 'yellow' - which is the lowest.

Over a period of several hours almost 70% of the average rainfall for August fell causing rivers to burst their banks, drains to explode under pressure, and roads and bridges to collapse.

The PSNI yesterday pleaded with motorists not to ignore warning signs on the numerous roads that remain closed.

Derry and Strabane District Commander, Superintendent Gordon McCalmont, said: "Unfortunately a large number of drivers are ignoring these signs and are taking chances with their safety and the safety of other road users.

"They are often worsening the road condition by driving over verges. Drivers doing this are putting their safety and other people's safety at risk. I must remind drivers of their responsibility to obey signage."

A spokesman for the Department of Infrastructure warned of more heavy rain today.

He said: "While no weather warnings are currently in place, bands of heavier showers are possible into Friday, especially across western and north western parts of the region.

"Given pre-existing saturation and ground conditions across some western/north western areas, the department continues to have in place resources to respond to any flooding that may occur."

This will be of little comfort for those who have lost their homes and vehicles in the water and raw sewage.

Among them is Rhonda Millar from Eglinton, who is angry that warning ahead of the storm was "totally inadequate".

She said: "I didn't know there was a weather warning but a yellow warning isn't anything anyone would even be talking about.

"I know for sure if there had been a red weather warning being flagged up for the north west we would have heard about it and had a bit of a chance to save the house. The damage has been done and we are left with this mess because we didn't know the storm was going to be as bad as it was.

"I have to give credit to the council, though.

"They have kept a steady supply of skips in the street to help with the clean-up.

"The Housing Executive have also been incredible, they got my daughter and me accommodation sorted in the short term, which was a big worry for me because we had nowhere to go."

While the practical help was quickly on the ground in Eglinton, Andrew Riddles did not find this the case at his home in Riverside Park in Drumahoe.

He said: "My insurance company has been brilliant and were out with me very quickly on Tuesday but I can't say the same for the statutory agencies.

"I rang the council twice but nobody answered.

"It was only when I saw people walking about and went over and asked them if they were from the council, which they were, that I got talking to anyone.

"I haven't seen a politician - no one has come here to see if we are all right; they were up at the Faughan Bridge, where the TV cameras were, but not where people who need help are."

Belfast Telegraph

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