The Minister for Infrastructure, Nichola Mallon has praised the multi-agency and community response to Storm Francis and called for communities to be on their guard as weather warnings remain in place.
Following a visit to Newcastle, one of the areas affected by flooding, Minister Mallon praised the partnership working on the ground.
Minister Mallon said:
“Storm Francis has caused disruption, flooding and challenges for many communities across the North already. Unfortunately, with weather warnings still in place we need to remain vigilant and keep our guard up against the elements. Staff from my Department alongside other agencies remain on the ground distributing sandbags and providing assistance to property owners. They are ready to respond as necessary and are continually monitoring the situation throughout the North, including latest weather reports.
“My Department has been working tirelessly to plan and protect communities across the North. The work of staff in Rivers and Roads has been exceptional, doing all they can, night and day and dealing with everything the storm has thrown at them to keep us safe. But it is clear their work would not be successful without the cooperation of the local community and our partners.
“Today, I visited Newcastle to speak with residents and those affected by Storm Francis. I have seen first-hand the hardship facing these families and while there’s been a swift effort in partnership here today – sandbags have been delivered and we are working to help get things resolved – I recognise a longer term solution is required.
“That is why I am giving my commitment and assurance that the flood alleviation scheme will be delivered for this area as quickly as possible. My officials advise that we hope to have the scheme on the ground by summer 2021 but I am asking for that to be escalated to explore any options to get work brought forward.
“We need to work to build resilience right across the board and I am committed to working to find solutions in partnership. I would urge everyone to be mindful of weather warnings and watch carefully on social media for regular updates. Please do not take any unnecessary risks in bad weather. I also want to thank people for their patience whilst agencies continue this important work.”
To report incidents of flooding, please contact the flooding incident line on 0300 2000 100. Calls taken by the incident line staff are passed to the relevant responding Agency. All calls will be answered however waiting times may be longer when there is a high volume of calls. Please only phone 999 if there is a risk to life or you feel you are in danger and need the assistance of the emergency services.
Road users are reminded to adhere to road signs and any temporary traffic lights, to avoid roads affected by flooding if possible and to take care driving. Traffic information can be found at: trafficwatchNI.
Information about preparing for possible flooding, and what to do after a flood, is available on NI Direct at: Flooding your area.
Notes to editors:
- All media queries should be directed to the Department for Infrastructure Press Office at: firstname.lastname@example.org
- The Executive Information Service operates an out of hours service for media enquiries between 1800hrs and 0800hrs Monday to Friday and at weekends and public holidays. The duty press officer can be contacted on 028 9037 8110.
- Follow the Department on Twitter @deptinfra and on Facebook @DepartmentforInfrastructure
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