Multi-Agency Response Continues In Flood Hit Areas

A multi-agency response is continuing in an effort to mitigate the effects of significant flooding across NI.

The Department for Infrastructure (DfI) has highlighted that river levels in many regions are beginning to fall as a result of limited overnight rainfall, but said that operational teams remain at sites across NI to monitor the evolving situation and respond and assist where possible.

This activity has continued to protect properties in a number of areas across counties Down and Armagh including Newry, Newcastle and Portadown. However, in some areas, rivers having reached record level remain very high and it will take some time for water to drain away.

The DfI said that it will be difficult do anything further in some areas until water levels recede more. If pumping will assist in any location that will continue where and when feasible.

In its latest update, the DfI said that Lough Neagh will continue to rise but at this stage is expected to peak tomorrow at a level below what was experienced in the winter of 2015.

The DfI continues to engage with colleagues in Local Government and Councils about the recovery stage and said that it will "play its part in that in whatever way possible".

The DfI added: "We would like to thank the public for in many cases acting responsibly in relation to road closures and other messaging. In the coming days we would ask the public to remain vigilant and adhere to any public safety messaging."

• Information about preparing for possible flooding, and what to do after a flood, is available at: nidirect - Flooding in your area.

• Advice for road users in all adverse weather conditions can be found at: nidirect - Driving in adverse weather.

• The most up to date information on road closures is available on Trafficwatchni.

Red Cross

Partners from across the Northern Ireland Civil Service, PSNI, Local Government, NI Fire and Rescue Service, NI Ambulance Service, the Health Service, Coastguard are working alongside the Red Cross to provide support in the affected areas.

The multi-agency partners are working in the worst affected areas to support the needs of people and communities in the days and weeks ahead as they try to rebuild their lives and livelihoods after these often difficult, complex, and traumatic experiences.

The Scheme of Emergency Financial Assistance (SEFA) is also available to homeowners who have encountered significant inconvenience due to flooding inside their homes, offering eligible applicants a £1,000 payment through their respective local councils.

Newry, Mourne and Down District Council Chairperson, Cllr Valerie Harte said: "Working as part of the multi-agency response, Newry, Mourne and Down District Council staff have been on the ground at flooding incidents across the district and remain on site to assist residents and businesses.  The Council is still in emergency response, with significant flooding in Downpatrick and Newcastle, as well as Newry.  Council staff continue to assist Department for Infrastructure staff, including with the distribution of sandbags for the use in constructing flood defences across the district.  As well as providing emergency assistance, the Council has adapted its services wherever possible.  The Council will be providing practical assistance in the clean-up operation and is ready to play a significant role in the recovery phase.

"The Council would like to thank everyone who has assisted so far from across local government, including Belfast City Council, Lisburn & Castlereagh City Council, Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council, and the many community and voluntary representatives."

Commenting on the Northern Ireland Housing Executive (NIHE) response Chief Executive Grainia Long, said: "Teams across NIHE have been working hard to ensure that services to tenants continue to be delivered. We have also supported households who have left their homes due to flooding. This has been a distressing time for people impacted, and our local teams have been providing advice and assistance alongside other statutory agencies. I am grateful for the work of NIHE colleagues who have been working around the clock in very challenging circumstances.

"I am also very grateful for the commitment of our maintenance contractors in Newry in recent days. PK Murphy has been providing assistance to the Department for Infrastructure to deal with the severe flooding in the city and provided a team who assisted DFI throughout the night and also provided almost 1,000 sandbags to help alleviate the situation.

"We will continue to monitor the situation across the areas affected, assist where we can and engage and collaborate with all other partners to ensure that households are kept safe."

Image: SDLP MLA for Newry & Armagh, Jason McNulty on X

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