Donegal County Council has moved to stave off the threat of disease and rodent infestation in light of last week’s flooding across the Inishowen Peninsula.
Specialist teams are visiting various housing estates in a number of towns, including Burnfoot, Buncrana, and Carndonagh, left devastated by the flooding.
Dozens of families have been forced to flee their homes and have been sorted with emergency accommodation. For many, it may be months before they are able to return to their homes.
Donegal County Council’s environmental teams have been on the ground assessing the damage to homes in an effort to secure them.
As well as setting rodent traps, homes have been sanitised.
The HSE has also issued leaflets advising people how to cope physically and mentally in the aftermath of the floods.
Skips and dehumidifiers have also been provided to households and small businesses. To date, 65 households and businesses have availed of skips and over 50 dehumidifiers have been provided.
Householder Liam Hegarty, from the Lios Na Greine estate in Burnfoot, yesterday locked the door behind him on his home. He said he is lucky that himself, his wife Samantha, and three young children are able to move into his mother’s home as she spends several months living abroad. He is waiting to hear from an insurance company about getting compensation to renovate his home after being forced to leave it as a shell.
Mr Hegarty paid tribute to the council and to the army for helping him get it back to some normality.
“I have been unlucky but I know I’m lucky too in that I’m not on the streets,” he said. “The council has been very supportive with skips and setting rodent traps as well as sanitising the house.
“I had three lads in from the army who did Trojan work and I have to thank them. I have been able to shut the door behind me and hopefully I will get the insurance sorted and we will start again.”
However, he said he was dreading the prospect of another torrential downpour and high tide locally.
“I could have a really nice house again in six months’ time with a new kitchen and fresh paint but who is to say it will not be destroyed again?” he said.
“I have already been looking online to get specialist doors in future which might stop the floods coming in but who is to say it won’t come through the windows.”
Sinn Féin deputy leader Mary Lou McDonald visited Inishowen yesterday to see the devastation first hand herself.
She said the Government needs to press ahead with its plan of action for the ravaged region.
“It is just an unbelievable catastrophe that is unfolding,” she said. “I have spoken to residents and it so difficult for people to lose their home and so many possessions and to get small children back to school and to sort all that.
“When I saw these things unfolding I was gobsmacked. It is a devastating thing. This is a moment when we need strong solidarity and we need to be clear that these people need ongoing support from the Government. It is our job to ensure that no family, farm or business is left behind.
“When Government says that money is not a problem then we will hold them to that. The expressions of good will and support has been unanimous but the Government response needs to be even bigger than the heroic local response.”
Ms McDonald added that Government ministers have been to Donegal and the meetings have happened but the situations needs to be moved on.
“If it doesn’t move from the general to the specific then the response would be inadequate,” she said.
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