By Dan Walsh
Wexford County Council’s Emergency Management Team met early this morning following the intense flooding which affected New Ross on Monday evening. Estimates indicate rainfall of between 30mm and 40mm fell over a period of less than one and half hours, in addition to substantial hail, all of which centred around the main town area.
Serious flood damage has been identified in 30 homes and 38 businesses in the town as of late Monday night. Five units of the County Wexford Fire Service, twelve Civil Defence Personnel and twenty-two outdoor crew members from the District Office attended the scene between 5pm and midnight.
Speaking following a visit to the site, Chief Executive of Wexford County Council Tom Enright said; “What we saw last night in New Ross is unprecedented. This could not have been planned for. It is shocking to see the amount of damage done to homes and businesses in a very short space of time. We are working with the Department of Social Protection and the Irish Red Cross to see supports in place for those affected as soon as possible.
“I would like to thank the emergency workers – roads crews, Fire Service and Civil Defence teams on site last night and again this morning for their efforts to ensure people had safe accommodation, in making our public spaces clean and passable again and for the work that will be needed to repair significant damage to roads and streets in the coming weeks,” concluded Mr Enright.
Roads teams were back on site this morning before 7am to continue the clean-up with sweepers, pump equipment and water tankers to undertake a full wash down of the town area.
Upwards of 12 roads and junctions around the New Ross town area have been severely damaged, and while they remain passable, motorists are urged to slow down and use extreme caution when navigating the town centre.
Roads teams are already undertaking repairs to damaged areas this morning with a view to repairing all damaged roads as quickly as possible.
Businesses and householders in the town area who have been impacted by the flood are encouraged to contact relevant grant scheme providers to determine what financial support may be available to them.
The Department of Social Protection confirmed this morning that they have activated the Humanitarian Assistance Scheme in response to the flash flooding incident. This is an income-tested scheme which provides emergency financial assistance to households who are not able to meet costs for essential needs immediately following flooding.
The scheme aims to provide financial support to people who have suffered damage to their home, particularly where flood insurance is not available. It is designed to alleviate hardship rather than provide full compensation for damage. Householders are encouraged to make contact to discuss their individual circumstances. Contact the National Community Welfare Service phoneline on 0818 60 70 80 or email email@example.com
It is expected that Government will also announce a humanitarian support scheme for business, community and voluntary groups who have been affected by the flood and who are unable to secure flood insurance. The scheme once approved by Government, will be administered by the Irish Red Cross.
Wexford County Council is liaising with the Department of Enterprise on the scale of the impact to New Ross businesses. The humanitarian scheme is particularly targeted at small business (up to 20 employees) and helps towards the costs of returning business premises to their pre-flood condition. Once the scheme is announced, details will be available on www.redcross.ie and notified on Wexford County Council’s website and twitter feed.