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Council renews plea for those affected by floods to register for emergency funds

28 August 2017

Derry City and Strabane District Council has made a plea to those affected by the recent floods to ensure they register their property with the Council to avail of the Emergency Fund Scheme that is available.

To date 588 requests for assistance have been received with an estimated 492 properties directly affected across the City and District, however the Council thinks there may still be the possibility that there are householders who haven’t come forward and are encouraging them to do so as soon as possible.

Residents whose homes were affected are urged to contact the Council at 028 71253253 and the office opening hours have been extended from 8am to 10pm to facilitate this process. Once registered, Environmental Health officers will visit the affected homes to carry out an assessment which are then processed by the Finance section when approved.

Officers have visited 98% of those homes registered to date and follow up visits will continue over the coming days. Over £270,000 worth of emergency fund scheme monies have been paid out with a further £50,000 expected to be paid out in the coming days.

The two Flood Help Centres at the YMCA at Drumahoe and the Community Centre in Eglinton, attended by a number of statutory agencies, remain open and are being used as a hub for the local communities seeking practical advice and support in dealing with the aftermath of the incident including help with the clean out of their homes, advice on insurance claims, reconnecting water and electricity as well as information on entitlements and benefits. Humanitarian aid in the form of clothes, food, bedding, blankets and bottled water is available as well as emotional support and a listening ear service provided by a range of agencies including the Trust and the Red Cross.

Clean up work continues across the Council area with skips located across a number of regions and assistance provided through the bulky waste collection service. The Council is also working very proactively with the other statutory agencies to carry out clean up operations throughout the City and District including the removal of flood debris at Culmore Point.

The Council, through its Business team, continue working to assist the business community by offering advice and support.  Businesses are also being advised that they may be entitled to rates relief  under the Land and Property Services Hardship Scheme and are encouraged to visit the website to download the forms at - https://www.nibusinessinfo.co.uk/sites/default/files/LPS-Hardship-Relief-Factsheet-And-Application-Form-18Sep2015.pdf

Council has also been offering support to farmers and the rural community with officers out on the ground at a number of locations such as Glenelly, Castleferg and Plumbridge that have been badly hit by the floods. The rural community are being advised of support available from DAERA - including a Rural Support Listening ear and signposting service that is accessible at 028 8676 0040 or Helpline 0845 606 7607. For those seeking assistance and advice, the CAFRE line is open all weekend at 0300 200 7843 or via the DAERA website at www.daera-ni.gov.uk.

Other benefits that may be available are also being communicated to those affected through our teams on the ground and through our social media platforms, including those available as part of the Fuel Poverty Services and Affordable Warmth Grant scheme that could assist householders towards the repair of windows, the upgrade of heating and cavity wall installation. Those affected by the floods are urged to contact the Council's Affordable Warmth Team to see if they are eligible.

Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council, Cllr Maolíosa McHugh has praised the efforts of everyone involved in the rescue and recovery operation.

He said: “The way in which the statutory and voluntary agencies have worked in close collaboration to provide this level of support to the people of Eglinton, Drumahoe, Plumbridge, Castlederg, Glenelly, Claudy and a number of other areas is testament to the level of professional and commitment they have to serving their communities. I have been out and about visiting some of the homes of those directly affected and seen at first hand the scale of the damage. I would like to acknowledge the efforts of Council staff in particular, staff from the statutory and voluntary agencies as well as the many volunteers who have been working tirelessly these past five days to do what they can to assist the people directly affected. The community have really rallied around and we hope that level of support will continue in the days and weeks to come as the scale of the incident comes to light and people work to rebuild their lives.”

 

In addition to the emotional support available at the help centres a bespoke helpline has been established by the Western Trust for those who are in need of emotional support as a result of the floods, the Listening Ear Service line, which is set to commence from tomorrow, Tuesday 29 August and will operate Monday to Friday from 9 am to 5pm – Tel 07903990897. Anyone in need of any support or who finds themselves in distress can contact Lifeline at 0808 808 8000 or the Samaritans at 028 71 265511.

The public are further reminded that in the event of any incidents of flooding, they should contact the flooding incident line on 0300 2000 100.  Calls taken by the incident line staff are passed to the relevant responding Agency.  The public are advised to be patient, that all calls will be answered but that waiting times may be longer when there is a high volume of calls.

Information about preparing for possible flooding, and what to do after a flood, is available atwww.nidirect.gov.uk/flooding-your-area and also on the Council homepage at www.derrystrabane.com