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Gildernew praises flooding recovery efforts

20 August, 2008

Sinn Féin Agriculture and Rural Development Minister Michelle Gildernew MP MLA has praised the flood emergency response over the last 48 hours and urged the rural population to remain patient as recovery efforts continue.

Since Saturday afternoon the Rivers Agency has taken over 1,300 flooding calls, dealt with 300 flooding incidents and issued over 22,000 sandbags to householders. Work by Rivers Agency staff is on-going in response to local flooding incidents and all the government authorities remain on high alert.

Discussing the flooding situation, the minister said:

"In the space of several hours on Saturday we were faced with the entire rainfall that we normally experience for the month of August. The scale and impact of this extraordinary event, which was of a different scale to last year's flash flooding, has caused particular distress to many farmers.

"Widespread flooding of land has caused disruption to farmers, with some experiencing loss of crops or livestock. I am also very aware of the implications that the extreme rainfall could have for this year's harvest and intend to work with stakeholders to assess whether this will have a sustained effect on the industry.

"An enormous debt is owed to the combined efforts of the emergency services, my own Rivers Agency staff, Roads Service, local councils, Housing Executive and NI Water to assist those affected. We are all working very closely in the Executive to ensure that everything that can be done will be done for those badly affected by the flooding." ENDS

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