Belfast Telegraph

Northern Ireland flood victims moved again due to Storm Ophelia

By Donna Deeney

North West residents being put up in caravans after their homes were wrecked by the summer floods have now been forced to abandon their temporary accommodation.

Ironically, a visit by Prince Charles to the North West today to meet some of the worst affected victims of the August floods has been cancelled due to bad weather. He had been due to meet with residents of Eglinton and Drumahoe villages.

But barely recovered from the summer floods in which 100 people were rescued, Eglinton yesterday saw 10 families who were only recently accommodated in caravans while their homes were repaired, once again having to move.

Contractors arrived at the site in St Canice's Park with half-tonne concrete blocks to secure caravans that the families had moved into just last Wednesday.

From early yesterday, families fled the site to spend the night in nearby hotels away from the clutches of Ophelia. However, being told they had to leave again was taking its toll on them.

Among those affected was Ann Lamberton who, as well as having her home in Dunverne Gardens destroyed, also lost her job in the local chip shop which was flooded too and remains closed.

As her family helped her pack up the precious photographs she had hung on the caravan walls just days ago, she said: "We've been told we need to get out of here now too. It is tough. I didn't imagine we would be in this situation so soon but I do know I can't wait until this year is over before anything else happens."

Across the way, Jacqueline McCready and her family were also preparing to move out - the fifth time the family has had to pack up belongings since floods surged through their home. She said: "Our home in Dunverne Gardens has been reduced to brick wall, cement floors and a roof. We have been moved umpteen places but we thought last Wednesday that was it until our home was ready. I am nervous about what we could come back to."

Meanwhile, Ian Buchanan, like many other farmers, had a tractor-powered generator at the ready at his Dungiven farm so his dairy herd would get milked no matter what.

He said: "A storm, even one forecast to be as bad as this, won't be as bad for farmers or their animals as heavy rain or snow.

"No matter what the storm brings, we are ready."

Belfast Telegraph

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