Help offered to flood victims

A Doagh Road resident in Ballyclare battles against the rain to protect her home. Picture by Trevor McCusker

A Doagh Road resident in Ballyclare battles against the rain to protect her home. Picture by Trevor McCusker

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THE Northern Ireland Executive has today (Thursday) pledged to provide financial assistance to local homeowners hit by flooding after yesterday’s heavy downpours of rain.

The move comes after Ballyclare residents on the Doagh Road were again forced to battle the elements to prevent flooding in their homes.

The residents laboured through the night to try and direct water away from their properties and into drains.

Residents told the Times they worked on into the early hours of this morning and were fortunate not to be faced with a major clean-up operation today.

Last October, however, it was a different story when the same homes were deluged with floodwater.

Houses were left saturated after a torrent of sustained rainfall over two-days and their residents faced huge repair bills.

Gloria Mitchell was badly affected last year and said Wednesday evening’s deluge brought back terrible memories.

She said: “We were up most of the night just trying to make sure the water did not get in.

“And even when we thought the worst was over, I could not sleep for the fear the downstairs may be flooded by the morning.”

Gloria believes a nearby housing development may be to blame for the flooding.

She added: “After the last time I spent extra money on tiling the house to help protect it from flooding again. But after that last time there has not been much done to stop it again other than the drains being cleared regularly - but that’s not the problem. There needs to be more drains put in.

“In 10 years of living here there was never any flooding until last year.

“But when they built the Fairview housing development they did not put in place the proper drainage and because my house is directly down from it I have to suffer.”

This morning local MLA Danny Kinahan visited the residents who have been affected to make sure they had adequate measures in place to protect against another further heavy rainfall predicted for tonight.

Mr Kinahan told the Times: “We have to work in the short term to ensure everyone has sandbags to stop their homes from flooding.

“And in the long term we have to work to stop this happening all together. There has to be an acceptance that our climate is changing and we have to be able to cope with sudden big changes.

“Already there is talk that Wednesday’s rainfall was a ‘one in one hundred years’ occurrence. Well that would make it the fourth in five years.”

Newtownabbey Borough Council has said it has received no reports of flooding in the area, however, it is monitoring the situation.

And Environment Minister Alex Attwood has urged those affected by the flooding to contact the council for emergency financial assistance.