Multi-agency efforts to alleviate and restrict flooding in County Laois continues this weekend.
Efforts are continuing this morning to assist the public and businesses following the floods which took place in Mountmellick and Portarlington in County Laois this week.
Laois Fire & Rescue Service, Laois Civil Defence and the Defence Forces have been working tirelessly since Wednesday to help communities in Mountmellick. The town was shut-off because of the flooding. Schools, businesses and local shops were all closed.
Pic: Left (Laois Civil Defence) Right: (Laois Fire & Rescue Service)
The fire service was pumping water from houses and businesses. Almost each of the eight fire stations on County Laois were active during the critical flood period with further assisted being provided by fire crews from neighboring counties of Offaly, Westmeath and Longford.
Pic: (Laois Fire & Rescue Service via Twitter @LaoisFireRescue)
Laois Civil Defence had dozens of volunteers, vehicles and equipment in use throughout. They too were provided with assistance from their colleagues from counties Kildare, Westmeath and Dublin.
Civil Defence Operations. Pic: (Laois Civil Defence via Twitter @LaoisCivilDefen)
Over 100 homes were destroyed, leaving hundreds of people displaced and having to take shelter in emergency rest centres which were established by Laois County Council. The worst affected areas were on the Clonaslee side of the town. Efforts this mooring are concentrated on Portarlington.
On Thursday, the Defence Forces deployed 30 of its members from the Defence Forces Training Centre DFTC in the Curragh, to assist emergency workers and the community in Mountmellick, with specialist equipment to assist in flood defence, mobility and clean-up tasks.
Laois Civil Defence’ Operational Command and Support Unit was central for the communications and crisis management system operated by Laois County Council under the Framework for Major Emergency Management in conjunction with the council’s Co-ordination Centre in Portlaoise.
Arial View from Laois Civil Defence Drone Unit. Pic: (Laois Civil Defence)
Dublin Civil Defence also brought specialist equipment and to assist in the floods. Its Leyland DAF and Haggluds were deployed to assist with flood evacuation and displaced persons and Kildare Civil Defence provided personnel and transfer vehicles.
The Irish Red Cross will administer the provision of a Humanitarian Assistance Scheme. Minister with Responsibility for Defence Paul Kehoe TD announced the scheme and said it will provide emergency assistance for small businesses, sports clubs and community organisations unable to secure flood insurance, which have been affected by the flooding.
The humanitarian scheme works in two stages: (i) to provide a contribution of up to €5,000 which should meet the needs for the majority of those affected.
Stage two is in the event that the premises have incurred significant damages above €5,000. This will provide a means to seek further support. The total level of support available for both stages combined will be capped at €20,000.
Firefighters build temporary walk-over for residents. Pic: (Laois Fire & Rescue Service)
Laois County Council confirmed that up to 35 families were provided with emergency accommodation in Portlaoise after being evacuated from their homes. The council has said it has taken measurable steps to deal with flood water from the River Barrow which was heading to Portarlington.
Director of Services for Laois County Council is Kieran Kehoe. ‘We have implemented our plans for severe weather and flooding and we are monitoring the situation and its levels on an on-going basis. We are still dealing with a substantial amount of flooding,’ Mr Kehoe said.
Mr. Kehoe said many roads were impassable and access to properties was restricted. ‘A lot of the roads are still impassable, a lot of access to a lot of properties is still impossible due to the very high flood waters that are still in existence. The wind levels are still increasing in the Mountmellick area.’
Flood relief efforts continue today.