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Ballykelly spared but sandbags still at the ready

Deputy Mayor of Limavady says the local council is aware of a flood risk for Ballykelly, adding that said sandbags could be made available if necessary. (Picture shows Glencairn Way, Belfast, 2011)

Deputy Mayor of Limavady says the local council is aware of a flood risk for Ballykelly, adding that said sandbags could be made available if necessary. (Picture shows Glencairn Way, Belfast, 2011)

Despite the passing of the high-tide which had the potential to over-top the sea wall near Ballykelly, Limavady Borough Council will “remain in readiness” for the rest of the week.

The local council said they were made aware this morning (Friday, January 3, 2014) of the potential for storm surge flooding in the Ballykelly and Myroe areas. However, the council’s Chief Executive Liam Flanigan told the Sentinel the “main danger” had now passed.

He added, however, that “we don’t know what the rest of the week will bring.”

This followed an update from the Limavady Borough’s Deputy Mayor, DUP Councillor James McCorkell, who said: “Council are aware that there is the potential for some storm surge flooding in the Ballykelly and Myroe areas. Council is currently liaising with other agencies to provide sandbags and other logistical support if required.”

He added: “If anyone needs help or assistance the Floodline number is 0300 2000 100.”

Providing a further update to the Sentinel, Chief Executive Liam Flanigan said: “We received a warning about the potential for flooding in Ballykelly this morning. We put staff on standby in case that happened and it became necessary to assist. There was a concern about the over-topping of the sea wall, that was the real issue. I have just received confirmation that that has not happened. The surge sea-wall hasn’t overtopped and the main danger has now passed with the high tide but we don’t know what the rest of the week will bring.

“Council remain in readiness to assist if and when it is necessary.”

Meanwhile, the River Bann has burst its banks causing considerable flooding in nearby Coleraine. Ministers in the Northern Ireland Executive have this morning also received the most up to date briefing on the potential impact of coastal flooding and the risk to public safety and essential services.

In an emergency meeting, the Head of the Civil Service updated the Executive on arrangements that have been put in place by the PSNI who are leading a multi-agency response in advance of today’s expected high tide in Belfast just after 12 noon and again on Sunday and Monday.

The Executive agreed that their Departments and agencies would continue to co-operate fully in the multi-agency response, provide whatever assistance it could to the PSNI and also urged the public to follow safety advice.

Ministers urged for vigilance over the coming days, and expressed concern about the risk of flooding from rivers and surface water given the level of rainfall in the last number of weeks.

After today’s meeting, Ministers issued the following statement: “Coastal flooding is an extremely rare weather event and the Executive has been fully briefed on the potential risk of coastal flooding and the impact it could have on residents and services in parts of Belfast and potentially other towns along the east coast.

“Plans have been developed and are being implemented by the multi-agency responders under the guidance of the PSNI but despite all the arrangements that are being put in place, a number of properties are at risk and could be flooded.

“Ministers have agreed that their Departments and agencies will continue to co-operate fully in the multi-agency response but it is important that people do not take any risks with their own safety, continue to listen for latest updates and co-operate fully with the responders on the ground.

“We are also very grateful for ongoing efforts of those from a variety of organisations who have been working through yesterday and last night, and who continue to work, to mitigate against potential risk.”

The Executive has urged members of the public who will require assistance to contact the Flooding Incident Line on 0300 2000 100.

 

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