Belfast Telegraph

Emergency flooding aid for small businesses, community groups and farms

Small businesses, community groups and farms are to receive emergency flooding aid.

The Stormont Executive agreed agriculture minister Michelle O'Neill's proposal to pay £1,000 to many organisations affected by recent deluges.

The minister said: "I hope that the Emergency Financial Assistance Scheme for non-domestic properties will help repair damage and restore normality to those impacted.

"While flooding is a natural occurrence and it is impossible to provide 100% protection, today's announcement recognises the hardship some people faced this winter.

"It is a welcome addition to a package of measures which helps better protect homes, community groups and businesses from future flooding events."

Water levels at Lough Neagh hit a 30-year high in January after heavy rain. The downpour left some roads impassable and fields saturated.

A total of £1.3 million was available to Northern Ireland to deal with the consequences, the spin-off from a Westminster flood fund.

Since 2012 the fire service has responded to more than 1,300 calls relating to flooding and carried out 166 rescues across Northern Ireland.

It launched three new emergency response teams on Thursday.

They will be based at Omagh, Armagh and Belfast's Westland Road fire stations.

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