SDLP Foyle MLA Mark H Durkan has described the destruction and major disruption experienced by homeowners and businesses across Derry and Strabane following significant flooding over the course of the weekend.
Mr Durkan has called on Communities Minister Deirdre Hargey to urgently activate the Emergency Payment Scheme for Flooding to enable householders to take immediate action to protect their homes.
Mark H Durkan said:
“It has been a desperate and difficult night for people across the North West who spent Saturday night fighting flooding to protect their, and their neighbours’, homes and property.
“The result of heavy rain over the last 24 hours is destruction and major disruption in communities across Derry and Strabane. I have written to the Communities Minister this morning asking her to urgently activate the Emergency Payment Scheme for Flooding to get money to householders who are desperately trying to protect their homes or clean up the mess they have been left with.
“People from across our districts have shown immense community spirit yesterday and today and I want to thank them for it. From firefighters doing everything they can to rescue people and prevent the destruction of property to people who went out of their way to provide their neighbours with sandbags and support.
“We now need to accelerate flood alleviation schemes and there needs to be a sharp review of flood preparedness. Many people struggled to get sandbags yesterday as flood water entered their homes and they are rightly frustrated at what has happened to them. Lessons must be learned quickly but the most important thing remains getting immediate support to those dealing with the aftermath of this.”
SDLP Group Leader on Derry City and Strabane District Council Cllr Brian Tierney said:
“Several homes and businesses have once again been affected by severe flooding and will no doubt be assessing the level of damage today.
“Homes and businesses from Culmore to Ballycoleman estate in Strabane have been hit by this flood. Some homes have been hit for the third time in two years.
“That’s not acceptable and residents should not have to be living in fear every time it rains or there is a weather warning.
“We need to do more and accelerate work to address these issues in areas we know are prone to flooding.
“SDLP Cllrs are in these areas assisting residents with the clean-up, but we need more. We need appropriate protection put in place now. This can’t wait.”