Saturday 23 September 2017

Anger grows in North as thousands left without power

Cara Faith walks through a snow drift near Glenarm, Co Antrim
Cara Faith walks through a snow drift near Glenarm, Co Antrim

DEBORAH McALEESE

ANGER was building last night as thousands of homes remained without electricity and families in rural areas were left isolated more than 72 hours after snow storms first hit the North.

Years of under-investment in the electricity network and a "lack of urgency" from Stormont's Department for Regional Development have been blamed for days of power and water cuts, roads chaos, and the potential death of thousands of farm animals.

Families in rural areas have also been unable to access food supplies and the Ambulance Service has had difficulty responding to emergency calls.

Northern Ireland Electricity (NIE) said it had restored power to over 137,000 customers, but warned that several homes would still be without electricity today, because poor road conditions, snow drifts and abandoned vehicles have hampered efforts to restore power to many areas.

Some rural areas have been hit by 18ft snow drifts.

NIE said that its emergency crews and engineers had been working around the clock to restore power.

They were being supported by 140 lines staff from the Republic and Scotland.

The snow storms also resulted in emergency calls having to be diverted to Scotland after a major breakdown in the communications network.

Meanwhile, concerns have also been raised over the possible death of tens of thousands of farm animals because snow drifts have prevented farmers from reaching their livestock for days

And the PSNI said specialist rescue teams had been deployed to help 10 vulnerable people at risk or isolated.

As disruption enters its fourth day, demands have been made for an urgent investigation into why so many homes remain inaccessible and without electricity.

Irish Independent

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