Call for emergency funding to help those affected by flooding

Weather update
Weather update

A senior Republic of Ireland Government figure has called for emergency funding to help those affected by catastrophic flooding.

More than 100 people had to be rescued from cars and houses due to sudden flash flooding in Donegal, Tyrone and Derry on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Fields flooded between Ballyliffin and Isle of Doagh on Wednesday morning

Fields flooded between Ballyliffin and Isle of Doagh on Wednesday morning

About two-thirds of the average rain for August fell in nine hours, turning roads into torrents, swelling rivers by 15ft in places and washing away roads and bridges.

Joe McHugh, the Government Chief Whip and Minister of State for Gaeilge, Gaeltacht and the Islands, visited some of those affected in Buncrana, Bridgend and Burnfoot in Donegal, and described scenes of devastation.

“It is essential that an emergency aid package is put together so we can help families rebuild their lives and so that bridges and roads washed away in the floods are restored as soon as possible,” the Donegal TD said.

“We have heard incredible stories of neighbours saving neighbours at the height of the floods. It is a miracle no lives were lost during this weather event.”

Six major bridges and roads will need to be repaired, including on the busy Moville to Muff road on Inishowen.

Mr McHugh, who is visiting more affected communities, said he would work with cabinet colleagues over the next few days to arrange a special emergency funding package for those hit by the floods.

Cars were washed away in places when the violent thunderstorms struck on Tuesday night.

On Wednesday several people had a lucky escape when a main road in the village of Drumahoe, outside Londonderry, collapsed.

A number of people were walking on the road when a section crumbled into flood water.

In Burnfoot around 20 families in the Pairc an Grianan and Lios na Greine estates have been left homeless after their properties were severely damaged by flood water and raw sewage.

The floods sparked questions over the response of the authorities.

Firefighters saved 93 people, with the coast guard helping dozens of others.

Coast guard staff were also involved in the rescues of more than 30 people.

Minister of State for Flood Relief in the Republic, Kevin “Boxer” Moran, is also visiting some of the worst-hit locations.

Criticisms have emerged over a housing estate in Burnfoot being turned down for flood defence funding.

Mr Moran said it did not meet a cost benefit analysis at the time.

Donegal County Council and officials in Northern Ireland are assessing the scale and cost of the repair work but the bill is expected to run into millions.