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Executive responds to latest floods emergency

18 August, 2008

The Executive today announced an emergency payment scheme to help householders hit by severe flooding across the North of Ireland.

The emergency payment was approved after two of the lead Ministers in charge of the Executive's flooding response met. Sinn Féin Regional Development Minister Conor Murphy and Environment Minister Sammy Wilson also met with senior officials from government departments and agencies at Stormont to assess the situation. Agriculture Minister Michelle Gildernew was briefed on the meeting.

The Ministers were told almost one month's worth of rainfall fell in 12 hours across the North of Ireland during Saturday.

The Roads Service, NI Water, the Rivers Agency and the Housing Executive have also been working with the emergency services and local government to clear roads and homes affected by the heavy rainfall.

Government agencies received thousands of phone calls from the public.

Regional Development Minister Conor Murphy said:

"The Executive would like to pay tribute to the heroic work of the agencies in dealing with what was an extraordinary weather event.

"The agencies met on Friday after receiving weather warnings and were able to review the plans and liaise on arrangements for the weekend.

"As a result NI Water was able to deploy resources and contractors throughout the event and around the clock.

"Nevertheless such was the extremity of the rainfall that hundreds of homes were affected. The Roads Service has launched an operation to pump out 100 million litres of water from the Broadway underpass in Belfast and I have asked Roads Service to carry out a full investigation into the flooding of the underpass."

Note to Editors

Ministers have agreed that, as in the wake of the June 2007 floods, funds will be made available to local councils to help those most affected by this weekend's serious floods.

The funding has been approved by Finance Minister and councils are being kept fully informed about the administration of the scheme.

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