O’Neill thanks emergency flood responders after Storm Frank hits province

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Emergency flood responders have worked through the night to lessen the disruption across the province caused by Storm Frank, Rivers Minister Michelle O’Neill said today.

Hundreds of workers from Rivers Agency, local councils, Transport NI, NIFRS and the drainage authorities have responded to requests for assistance, monitored river levels, cleared gullies and grilles, kept roads open and distributed sandbags.

Minister O’Neill said she wanted to thank those that worked tirelessly to ensure the impact of Storm Frank was kept to a minimum.

She said: “Overnight the strong winds and heavy rain have impacted roads across the north and a small number of properties in Down, Armagh and the greater Belfast area.

“Pumping is ongoing at Derrychara Link in Enniskillen to keep the road passable. Rivers Agency is also pumping at Greenbank in Newry to ensure the high tide which coincides with increased river flows does not cause problems.

“Approximately 4200 sandbags have been issued, grilles and gullies cleared and around 80 calls for assistance responded to. I want to thank every single member of staff across all the agencies who have worked tirelessly to reduce the risk to homes and businesses.

“The continued heavy rain over recent weeks has meant there has been little opportunity for the waterlogged ground and higher river levels to recover. However, Rivers Agency has joined other agencies to work around the clock.

“Although the worst has passed, further rain is forecast over the next few days, so we will remain vigilant. I urge any residents and business owners who think they are at risk of flooding to view the Rivers Agency flood maps on DARD’s website to access information which will help them understand the possible impact. Our engineers and technical staff will remain on the ground checking river levels, clearing drainage grilles and checking sandbag stores.

“Farmers will have housed the majority of their cattle but we would advise them to move any sheep or cattle that are still grazing on flood risk land to move them to higher ground,” Minister O’Neill continued.

“I would ask the public to report any flooding incidents to the Flooding Incident Line on 0300 2000 100 which is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. A member of staff will then contact the appropriate agency on your behalf,” the Minister added.