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Anger grows after floods cause devastation in north west

Cars were swept into the River Faughan at Drumahoe on the outskirts of Derry during severe rain and storms in the north west. Picture by Margaret McLaughlin
Seamus McKinney

SERIOUS questions have been asked over the response of authorities to severe floods that devastated the north west.

More than 100 people had to be rescued in the north alone after roads and bridges collapsed, cars were washed away and homes and businesses destroyed in Tuesday night's storm.

Counties Tyrone, Derry and Donegal were worst affected after 63 per cent of the average August rainfall fell within just nine hours.

Millions of pounds worth of damage was caused to homes, roads and businesses during the worst floods seen in the area in living memory.

Some farmers also lost sheep during the flooding.

The north's Department of Infrastructure has pledged financial support for home owners affected.

The driver of a van in Inishowen had a lucky escape when floods opened a huge hole in the road.

Politicians including DUP leader Arlene Foster, Sinn Féin Foyle MP Elisha McCallion and Dublin cabinet minister Kevin Moran travelled to assess the damage.

Around 20 families in two estates in Burnfoot, Co Donegal, have been left homeless after their properties were severely damaged by flood water and raw sewage.

Several people were lucky to escape injury yesterday when a main road in the village of Drumahoe, outside Derry, collapsed.

Workmen and several other people were walking on the road when a section crumbled.

Major clean-up operations went on throughout yesterday as householders tried to come to terms with the extent of the damage.

Many main roads in Derry remained blocked throughout most of yesterday, City of Derry Airport was forced to divert all flights because the runway remained under water while businesses in Derry city centre, Eglinton and Claudy were left counting the cost after they were damaged by flood water.

There was anger that better preparations had not been made, despite the Met Office issuing a “yellow warning” for rain earlier in the week.

Flood waters left a huge hole in the road near Quigley's Point in Inishowen. Picture by AWS Tyres.

SDLP assembly member Mark H Durkan called for a complete review of flood preparations.

“It was painfully clear that agencies were not properly prepared or equipped for what happened and that’s not to take away in any way from the heroic and courageous work of workers on the ground," he said.

“We must look at ways of improving preparations for such storms."

Sinn Féin's leader in the north, Michelle O'Neill, said the clean-up would require a "robust and concerted approach across several different government departments".

The River Faughan at Drumahoe on the outskirts of Derry following severe rain and storms. Picture by Margaret McLaughlin

"Clearly questions need to be answered about the state of preparedness and the response of some statutory agencies," she added.

East Derry DUP MP Gregory Campbell, said some homes were submerged in at least 4ft of water.

"Both businesses and residents will be counting the cost of the floods," he said.

"It is essential that those affected receive help and support in the coming days and weeks."

Fianna Fáil TD Eugene Murphy said the Irish Government needs to come up with a new approach to deal with extreme weather conditions.

"There needs to be a more coordinated strategy in place involving the local authorities and the civil defence to manage these situations when they arise," he said.

Cars were swept into the River Faughan at Drumahoe on the outskirts of Derry during severe rain and storms in the north west. Picture by Margaret McLaughlin

The City of Derry Airport which was flooded during severe rain and storms in the north west area overnight. Picture Margaret McLaughlin 

The scene at the Faughan Bridge in Drumahoe on the outskirts of Derry flooded out during severe rain and storms in the north west area overnight.. Picture Margaret McLaughlin 

The devastation caused by floods on the Leckey Road in Derry. Picture by Frankie McMenamin

Householders in Derry's Brandywell clearing up. Picture by Frankie McMenamin

 Damage to a road next to the river Faughan in Drumahoe, Co Derry. Picture by Niall Carson/PA Wire

The scene at Institute Football Club and playing fields at Drumahoe on the outskirts of Derry. Picture Margaret McLaughlin 

The driver of a van in Inishowen had a lucky escape when floods opened a huge hole in the road.

Flood waters left a huge hole in the road near Quigley's Point in Inishowen. Picture by AWS Tyres.

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