Tuesday 22 May 2018

Emergency workers narrowly escape injury during Storm Ophelia response

Two separate incidents

A mobile home is destroyed after high waves breached the coastal protection defence during storm Ophelia at the caravan in Arklow, Co.Wicklow
A mobile home is destroyed after high waves breached the coastal protection defence during storm Ophelia at the caravan in Arklow, Co.Wicklow
Kevin Doyle

Kevin Doyle

Two teams of emergency responders narrowly escaped injury as they worked to restore normality in the south of the country.

An ESB crew had a lucky escape when a tree fell close to where they were working to repair fallen power lines.

And in a separate incident a car hit a tree that had a live wire embedded in it.

“The crew had started work to remove the tree before realising there was a live wire,” a source said.

Both incidents occurred on Monday as the country struggled to get to grips with the deadly storm.

The National Emergency Coordination Group (NECG) was briefed on the incidents today but chairperson Sean Hogan said he did not want to give exact details.

It is understood one of the incidents happened in the west of the country.

Thousands of fallen trees have now been removed from roadways across the country by local authority workers.

In Cork alone 430 out of an estimated 500 tree to have blocked roads have been lifted, while in Wexford 125 out of 131 have been successfully removed.

Mr Hogan said with the exception of some local roads the nation's roads are now open, although he urged motorists to continue to be cautious.

At a press conference this evening he said “huge progress” had been made throughout the day by ESB Networks in terms of restoring power.

The number of homes with out power is now down to 169,000 from a peak of 385,000 yesterday.

On the back of the improvements Irish Water has successfully re-established supplies to tens of thousands of homes and businesses.

At one point 260,000 premises were list as being “at risk” of losing their water. In total 109,000 homes had their water supply run dry at some point but the numbers affected is now down 66,000.

Jerry Grant of Irish Water said he anticipates this number will be halved again overnight.

However, the Defence Forces are in the progress of bringing a water tanker form the Curragh to Kilkenny to help with the situation there.

Army personnel have also helped move HSE around the country and clear trees in some areas.

The Air Corp has flown hundreds of kilometres checking power cables for breaks.

A wet and windy weekend is in prospect but Mr Hogan said he hopes most of the recovery work will be complete by then.

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