Families man water pump around the clock in bid to save their homes
Published 10/12/2015 | 02:30
In Athlone Una Stroud and her family pumped water from their back garden throughout the night, battling the elements in a bid to save their home.
It was destroyed in 2009 and they are working tirelessly since the weekend to ensure it doesn't happen again.
"The water was right up to the sandbags, just a millimetre from the front door this week but it receded a bit. We're just praying it doesn't rise again. All you can do is hope. I can't even think about what might happen," she said.
The family along with neighbours took turns manning the pump and clearing debris away throughout the night on the Park estate on Deerpark Road.
"I stayed there until 3.30am and then one of the guys took over. We have to keep the pump clear if we want to save the houses. We're the first house the water hits so we need to keep pumping it away from our neighbours gardens and homes also," she added.
Since the flood damage in 2009, the Strouds have been unable to get insurance.
"We lost everything in 2009, the electrics were all destroyed. We're doing everything we can to avoid it again but it's a real worry. The water levels are due to rise and we're barely keeping it at bay now," she said.
Residents in the area got further bad news after an updated ESB forecast warned the flood level would not peak until Monday. It predicted the river level will rise by another 39.6mm by Monday, close to the maximum recorded in 2009
Director of services at Westmeath County Council Barry Kehoe said in the previous 24 hours the Shannon had risen by 70mm. He said the council was sourcing emergency accommodation for residents who may have to leave their homes.
He believes around 90 homes could yet flood. "We are doing everything we can to help people but there's not much you can do about that river."