Thursday 23 November 2017

Councils insist flood havoc 'unavoidable'

Ralph Riegel

Ralph Riegel

THE Government and two major local authorities yesterday defended themselves against claims by traders and residents that disastrous flood damage could have been prevented.

Environment Minister Phil Hogan and both Cork City and County councils insisted the flooding was largely unavoidable given the freak storm and huge levels of rainfall over a two-hour period.

Insurance firms are bracing themselves for a second avalanche of claims in Cork in just three years, following the November 2009 floods.

While those ultimately inflicted over €100m of damage, Thursday's floods are expected to cost €15m to €20m to both Cork city and west Cork.

The Irish Red Cross (IRC) has launched an appeal to help those who have been affected. IRC secretary general Donal Forde said their volunteers had been assisting householders and, in some areas, very few residents escaped unscathed.

Cork County manager Martin Riordan said the rainfall levels were "frightening" but insisted the authority had done everything possible to prevent damage to property, including repeated inspections of key drains and culverts.

However, Blackpool Credit Union vice-chairman Sean Coleman said flood warning systems needed to be better.

"If we were alerted, someone could have put up flood barriers," Mr Coleman said.

Cork's Lord Mayor Cllr John Buttimer (FG) described the scale of the damage as "truly horrific".

Mr Hogan -- who is expected to tour flood-hit areas -- said authorities couldn't have predicted a situation where vast quantities of rainfall hit localised areas over such a short timescale.

Some 50mm of rain fell in Cork in just two hours.

Irish Independent

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