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Community-led meetings to be held to provide ongoing support after floods

20 October 2017

A series of community-based meetings are to be held in Eglinton, Drumahoe and rural areas to offer continued support to those affected by the recent floods.

The decision was made today following a multi-agency meeting that was facilitated by Derry City and Strabane District Council to get a collective response to the ongoing recovery operation that has been taking place since the floods last August.

It was acknowledged at the meeting that there remains a real need for practical and emotional support to those affected by the floods and that a series of community led meetings, to be attended by representatives from key support agencies, was needed.

Council agreed that it would liaise with the community representatives and the key statutory agencies to get the meetings set up. The purpose of the meetings is to get an overview of how people in those areas are coping and to identify their needs and any additional support they require to get their lives back on track.

As part of the meeting, representatives from the key agencies gave an update on their service’s recovery plans. The Department for Infrastructure gave an overview of the ongoing work that is taking place at various locations including Burndennet, Newtownstewart and Plumbridge and at the River Faughan and said their work will continue over the coming weeks. They explained how over 650 bridges were inspected across the region and that work is progressing to carry out the remedial work identified, much of it minor in nature.  They also outlined how 60 roads were closed at the height of the incident and that all, except 12, are now fully operational. They said work to get those roads reopened remained a key priority.

The Housing Executive outlined that of the 94 homes affected, 19 were severely affected plus seven to a lesser extent – three of these properties have been repaired and the families returned home this week. Eleven families have been rehoused in temporary mobile homes and the remainder are housed at bespoke temporary accommodation. They explained how issues with the ongoing wet weather conditions has hampered efforts to get houses dried out but that they remain fully committed to having the families back in their homes by Christmas.

From a Council perspective, it was outlined how work is continuing to put into place a programme of repair on the 26 Council owned properties affected over the coming weeks and months and that over 300 applications for the Emergency Flooding Assistance payment were processed and the Council continues to work to roll out its community resilience plan into the rural communities.

The multi-agency approach to the recovery operation was praised and the need to put in place through the community led meetings, preventative measures and a support mechanism to the communities affected, was also acknowledged at the meeting.

Among the agencies represented at the meeting today was Met Office, PSNI, NIFRS, DFI Roads, DFI Rivers, WHSCT, Red Cross, DAERA, NIHE, NIE Networks, Education Authority and DCSDC.