Residents of the Kilkenny town of Graiguenamanagh were fighting a losing battle last night as flood waters continued to rise, having already devastated scores of local businesses and homes.
Around midnight on Tuesday, the River Barrow and the Duiske stream burst their banks, causing people to come running out of pubs along the main street.
Junior Minister for Rural Affairs Ann Phelan, who lives in the town, said it looked as if "a tsunami had hit".
She said: "I've been out throughout the night trying to help those badly affected.We have had flooding in the past but nothing ever like this. We have people trapped in their houses and apartments."
Business people and homeowners have been left counting the cost. Most of them cannot get insurance due to flooding in the past.
Michael Doran, owner of the local SuperValu supermarket who has been in business for over 30 years, said: "This is the worst I've ever seen. The majority of businesses around here cannot open and are left trying to clean up - but there is the very real chance of the flooding getting even worse."