Residents in need of urgent help from agencies, says UUP

Staff try to clear up the damage caused to the Share Centre near Lisnaskea
Staff try to clear up the damage caused to the Share Centre near Lisnaskea

A councillor has said residents in Clady and Castlederg need urgent help from government agencies in the wake of extreme flooding.

The flooding in the Clady area – between Strabane and Castlederg – was two or three times worse than it has ever been before, said UUP man Derek Hussey.

“The bridge in Clady over the River Finn was not even visible over the weekend,” he said.

“There was substantial damage to properties, businesses and homes in the area.”

Dozens of homes and some businesses were also badly affected in the Castlederg area.

“People are starting to assess the damage and trying to sort things out for themselves.

“There is concern that agencies could be quicker into the area but of course they are being spread so widely.

“However, we expect that all agencies will be in the area at the earliest opportunity.”

Mr Hussey said his car got stuck in flood water on the road to Ballbofey at the weekend.

“Everyone is asking what is being done to prevent more flooding over the winter.”

One man who was born in Clady and lived there for over 50 years told the BBC: “This is the worst I have ever seen in my lifetime anyway. It was there a few weeks ago but this is even worse.”

Sinead, who works in a hair and beauty salon in Clady, said of the flooding: “It was really bad. There has been a lot of damage to the floors inside and a couple of electrical products.

“Everything has had to be moved to the upper floor of the building.”

Many businesses were submerged in up to 6ft of water.

Frank Rea owns a car sales business and a bar and restaurant in the village.

When the waters began to rise on Sunday, members of staff managed to get the cars out.

“But the rest of the yard...there is oil and everything and the office is wrecked.”

Mr Rea’s restaurant is submerged under 4ft of water, although they are hoping to honour their Christmas bookings.

A number of houses also had to be evacuated from the Urney Road just outside Clady on Sunday night.

Resident Pat Wright said: “I was sitting up to two or three o’clock in the morning. I never slept all night. I was waiting for the knock from the police or somebody to put us out of the house.”

A Rivers Agency spokeswoman said on Monday evening that flooding occurred due to significant rainfall totals over a prolonged period of time across the west including the Dungannon, Enniskillen, Omagh and Strabane areas.

“‎Rivers Agency engineers and technical staff remain on the ground working hard to tackle the impact of Storm Desmond,” she said. “They are clearing grilles and where necessary distributing sandbags.

“River levels continue to be monitored as well as Lough Erne water level which, whilst still below the levels we saw in 2009, is starting to have an impact on the the travel network and local community.

“Work will continue overnight to pump water away from Derrychara Link in Enniskillen and ensure roads in this area remain open.

“Flood investigations are already underway to see if any immediate action is required.

“Agency staff will continue to monitor the situation overnight.

“We are encouraging property owners to view the Flood Maps which are publicly available on Flood Maps NI to understand the flood risk on their own land so that they might be better prepared when flooding occurs.

“The public are reminded that during a flooding event if assistance is required call Flooding Incident Line on: 0300 2000 100. It is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.”

“Drivers are also being advised to be careful, flood water is dangerous and driving through it should be avoided where possible. Unfortunately many people come to harm using vehicles in flood water.“