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Volunteers respond to Northern Ireland flooding

26 October 2011

A sign warns drivers of a flooded streetVolunteers have been braving the elements to help stricken residents in Northern Ireland, after heavy rain caused flooding and widespread problems in low-lying areas.

Earlier this week, more than a month’s rain fell in a single afternoon on already sodden ground. Red Cross fire and emergency support service (FESS) teams set out to help as rivers burst their banks and many areas were hit by rising water levels.

The Red Cross response has largely focused on areas in the west, such as Newtownstewart and Strabane. In these areas, volunteers have been supporting households and businesses as they enter the clean up and recovery phase.

Severe flooding

Volunteer Ivan Charleton said: “I helped a lady with three children in Strabane whose house had been quite badly flooded. The family came on board our FESS vehicle for an hour and had a cup of tea while the situation was assessed by local community workers and council staff.”

Volunteers were also on hand to help at the village of Beragh in Omagh, where the flooding was particularly severe and people needed to be rescued from their homes by boats. Red Cross emergency teams supported both evacuees and the emergency services in the village.

‘Ready to help’

Bobby Pollock, service co-ordinator, said: “The weather has eased a little now but we remain on standby as there is still a risk of flooding – particularly around Upper Lough Erne in the Fermanagh Lakelands.

“We have been ready to help since the rains started on Monday and we’re poised to go out again at a moment’s notice should the need arise.”

Prepare for floods

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