Multi-agencies provide update on flood recovery to Derry City and Strabane District Council
11 September 2017
Members of Derry City and Strabane District Council were provided with an overview from representatives from the various statutory and voluntary agencies of the ongoing work being carried out following the floods that devastated homes, farms, businesses and sports and community facilities across the Council area.
Representatives from all of the agencies attended a Special Meeting of the Council held at the Council offices on Friday evening to provide a progress report on the flooding incident response.
Derry City and Strabane District Council Chief Executive John Kelpie gave an overview of the co-ordination role of the Council to the incident, explaining that up to 200 Council staff were involved across all services including 60 technical officers on the ground carrying out inspections of over 510 homes.
Teams from the Cleansing sections were proactively involved in the clearing of flooded areas including homes and businesses, removing almost 200 tonnes of waste.
Of the 510 properties affected, 370 were deemed eligible for the Emergency Fund Scheme and over £360,000 worth of payments have been made to date. Twenty-six Council owned premises were also affected by the floods and among those affected was the Donemana Civic Amenity site, which has since reopened, and the Tullyally Community Centre which is expected to reopen next week.
A number of other affected facilities are still being assessed and a full report is expected in the coming weeks.
Details of the two Flood Help Centres that were established by the Council in Eglinton and Drumahoe, and the pivotal role they played in allowing the various agencies to come together to offer support and advice in a one-stop location, was outlined at the meeting.
Members were also informed of the role the Council played in rural communities such as Plumbridge, Newtownstewart, Claudy and Glenelly in the wake of the floods in partnership with DAERA and Department for Communities and of the level of support available through community development for sports clubs affected.
From a humanitarian point of view, members were informed of the huge number of donations and offers of support from the local community, including the distribution of £9,500 through Community Services emergency funding for a number of community and voluntary groups across the Council area.
Representatives from a number of the multi-agencies involved in the flood response also provided an overview of their agencies current position relating to the recovery operation.
Among those in attendance at the meeting were representatives from DAERA, the Department for Infrastructure (Rivers and Roads); the NIHE; the PSNI; the Red Cross and NI Water.
During the meeting, elected members unanimously voted in favour of a notice of motion to write to the Secretary of State and senior civil servants to seek additional financial assistance that would include businesses, and the community and voluntary sector.
All of the political representatives praised the efforts of all involved in the recovery operation and impressed upon the agencies the need to continue with the work to get services up and running, the road and rivers infrastructure fully operational and provide the practical and emotional support needed to assist those directly affected by the floods.
Elected members highlighted the need for preventative measures to be put into place to prevent a reoccurrence and provide reassurance to the public.
Concluding the meeting, elected members were united in their call for financial assistance for businesses and charity organisations affected by the floods. It was acknowledged that Council has made a number of representations to senior officials at Stormont to get the Emergency Fund extended to include businesses but in the absence of a working Assembly there is no mechanism in place to allow this to happen.
Members unanimously voted in favour of the proposal to write to the Secretary of State asking for his intervention in an effort to help flood victims across the Council area.