Wednesday 21 February 2018

Sewage threat will leave at least 40 families homeless after floods

Baby Noah Kerin with mum Edel. Photo: North West Newspix
Baby Noah Kerin with mum Edel. Photo: North West Newspix

Ian Begley and Stephen Maguire

The number of families left devastated by flood waters is likely to double as clean-up operations reveal the extent of the damage.

Across Inishowen, the scale of the disaster was described as "unprecedented and catastrophic".

Last week, it was estimated that 17 families had been left homeless by the flooding in the Inishowen area, but according to local officials the number is likely to climb to 40.

This is due to the threat of sewage contamination and the fact that many flood victims have been temporarily staying with friends or family.

"The number of families made homeless is substantially more than 17 at this stage and I think in the next coming days we will see it exceeding 40," said Cllr Martin McDermott.

"The council is providing B&Bs and hotels for affected families, but a lot of people who have lost their homes are staying with friends and relatives.

"We have another meeting and will have a clearer picture of the scale of the damage," he said.

Cllr Albert Doherty added that there was still a huge amount of work needed to be done for families who had lost their homes.

"As the investigations continue, the statistics are also rising with the affected number of families being left homeless," he said.

"There are people who are trying their best to dry out their homes, but when there's sewage contamination the environmental health officers are telling them they can't stay there.

"Our priority is to get anyone who has lost their home rehoused, but we have a long way to go yet," he said.

More than 60 families had been given financial aid since last week's floods, said and Government Chief Whip Joe McHugh, who is a Donegal TD.

Further supports were being made available and Donegal County Council staff were also helping 40 families to secure accommodation, he added.

The TD added that cash payments would be available for all those who had lost clothes and possessions in the flood.

Staff from across the division, including Sligo, have been travelling in to assist in the areas most damaged.

They are also volunteering to cover the emergency on-call facility over evenings and weekends.

Meanwhile, locals from the area of Clonmany, in Donegal, made more than €2,500 in a charity car wash for those caught up in the floods.

Jason Doherty and John McCarronn's goodwill gesture resulted in hundreds of motorists travelling to their small town to contribute to the good cause.

"I put the idea up on Facebook and it got a lot of traction," said Mr Doherty.

"It's such a small town and was so great to see so many people come to contribute.

"We had 25 people helping to wash the cars and are delighted with how much we raised," he said.

One of those affected by the Donegal flood was Edel Kerin, who was stranded in the town of Clonmany with when horrendous flooding struck the Inishowen Peninsula on Tuesday evening.

Edel (35), who was due to give birth on the day the floods struck, then made her way to Letterkenny General Hospital the next day because her third child was ready to arrive.

Just after 1.30pm on Thursday, her first baby son was born and weighed in at a healthy 8lb 4oz.

She and husband Damian have named the baby Noah after the flooding.

"We just thought that with the week that was in it and all the biblical connections, we would name him Noah," said Damian.

Mum and baby Noah were discharged from hospital on Saturday and have now returned to their home in Heather Park, Buncrana.

Irish Independent

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