Belfast Telegraph

Flooded-out Derry families spend Christmas in a mobile home

By Donna Deeney

A couple from Co Londonderry were forced to spend Christmas in a Housing Executive mobile home - four months after their house was flooded.

Eglinton's Alwyn and Janette Morrow are one of several families still living in temporary accommodation as they wait for repairs to be carried out.

Dozens of families had to move out after the storm in August, with some being put up in 11 mobile homes.

Initially it was hoped that all of them would be back in their own homes by Christmas, but the scale of the repairs needed has pushed that date back to the end of January.

For the families still living in the temporary caravan park, Christmas was not one they would like to repeat and 2018 can't come soon enough.

The entire ground floor of the Morrows' home in St Canice's Park was destroyed in 20 minutes of heavy rainfall which swept away everything they had built up in 40 years.

Mrs Morrow said: "We had been living in temporary accommodation in the Waterside until around a month ago when we moved into this mobile home.

"Being back in Eglinton is great and we came determined to make the most of Christmas.

"We put up as many decorations as possible and we even managed to fit a tree in, but I hope I never have to repeat this experience.

"Our initial plan for Christmas Day was to have dinner here with my brother from Scotland who comes to us every year and we wanted to go ahead with that to keep things as normal as possible.

"We even got extra chairs brought in so we could all sit around the table, but then he had to go back earlier than expected because of a family emergency which put a bit of a downer on things. In the end we went to my other daughter's house for our Christmas dinner and then another one on Boxing Day - so we were well enough fed!

"We had hoped to be in our own house for Christmas but when we realised that wasn't going to happen we just made the best of the situation we are in."

Mrs Morrow said that work is continuing on their home, but will take some time.

She said: "The plastering in our house was only done on the Wednesday before Christmas and we don't have any water or heating in the house, so we have a while to go yet before we are back home."

The Morrows have faced other personal tragedies since their house was hit by the floods.

Mrs Morrow said: "The flood in August has been just one in a litany of difficulties we have had to face this year.

"Alwyn lost his sister in a house fire, I lost my niece in a car crash a couple of weeks after the flood and I have had to have two operations so it's been tough.

"You try and be philosophical about things and at least we have a roof over our head, we are warm and cosy but we will be glad to see the back of 2017."

Belfast Telegraph

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