Belfast Telegraph

Leo Varadkar meets flood victims in Donegal

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has flown into flood-hit areas of Donegal by Army helicopter.

Arriving in Inishowen Mr Varadkar witnessed first-hand the devastation caused by the storm.

He met with a number of people whose homes were severely damaged in the floods and those involved in the major clean-up operation.

It is estimated that as many as 500 homes could have been affected by the severe flooding in Donegal alone.

Several roads and bridges are still badly damaged after collapsing in the storm.

Soldiers were deployed to the county on Friday to assist Donegal County Council with the clean-up in the badly hit areas of Inishowen and Burnfoot.

Minister of State with Responsibility for Flood Relief Kevin Moran described the area as a "disaster zone".

Following an inter-departmental meeting to co-ordinate a response to this week's events, Mr Moran pleaded with insurance companies not to blacklist areas devastated by flooding.

He added that it was too early to put a cost on the clean-up operation.

Michael D'Arcy TD, Minister of State for Financial Services, said that every possible assistance will be provided to those affected.

Many parts of the North West suffered severe flood damage in Tuesday night's freak rainfall.

Officials from the Departments of Transport, Social Protection and Environment as well as the Office of Public Works (OPW) met on Friday to discuss the best way to support Donegal County Council.

An emergency humanitarian support scheme is to be put in place for small businesses, community, voluntary and sporting organisations to deal with the effects of the flooding.

The scheme will be administered by the Red Cross with funding provided by central Government.

Financial support under the Department of Employment and Social Protection's Humanitarian Assistance Scheme is available for things such as clothing and food for households directly impacted.

People in need of assistance are being advised to visit the local Intreo Centre where the Department's Community Welfare Service Teams are waiting to assist them.

Those unable to travel to the offices can contact Buncrana Intreo office on (074) 9364600 or Ballybofey Intreo on (074) 9130490.

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