Wall repair work starts in Derry
Residents tell of relief as emergency stabilisation begins
Residents who had been living in fear after retaining walls collapsed putting their homes at risk have spoken of their relief at the arrival of specialist engineers on site.
The civil engineering teams spent yesterday examining how best to make the 150ft long damaged wall safe at Marlborough Terrace in Londonderry.
Emergency stabilisation works have also now begun on the 30ft high structure, which partially collapsed a week ago, destroying several vehicles under tonnes of bricks, mud and rubble.
A further section fell on Saturday, destroying a garage.
Smaller collapses have continued since the weekend.
A second wall at Harding Street was also damaged in the storms last Tuesday night, with repair works set to get under way there in the coming days.
Derry City Council moved swiftly to co-ordinate a response for residents, many of whom have been advised to stay at the front of their properties.
Environment Minister Alex Atwood also intervened this week, confirming his department will foot the £250,000 bill for repairing the walls and authorising the council to bring in the contractors yesterday.
By last night, the contractors had begun stabilisation works on some sections of one wall and cordoned off the worst affected areas. Northern Ireland Water is now expected to carry out works to stop sewage leaks.
Resident Trisha Wilson, who lives with her seven-year-old son, Connan, in one of the Malborough Terrace houses affected, said residents were extremely relieved that action was now being taken.
She said: “Thank God, at last we are getting somewhere.
“I had to move my wee boy in beside me and he hasn’t slept this last two nights.
“More rubble fell yesterday and a tree and my wee boy was there. It has really affected him.
“My mummy is stressed out by it all. We are just glad now somebody is up there.”
Derry City Council’s chief executive Sharon O’Connor said yesterday: “The appointed contractor will establish a regime of stabilisation work and Derry City Council will continue to monitor the situation through this specialist support.”
A second report is expected within days for any stabilisation measures required for the Harding Street area.
Health and safety warnings issued for residents in Marlborough Terrace an d Street remain in place. Residents are urged to refrain from entering their rear gardens or yards and the back lane where the collapse took place.