A multi-agency task force has been operating since early Friday morning throughout this Major Flood emergency. Limerick City and County Council, Gardai, Limerick Fire Service, the Civil Defence, Defence Forces, Limerick Marine Rescue and the Red Cross have all been involved in the operation.
Up to 2000 people living in over 300 houses on an area of 200 acres in the St. Marys Park Assumpta Park, Lee Estate and Little Island area of Limerick, have been worst affected.
The emergency began early on Friday morning and quickly turned into something which has never been encountered in Limerick on this scale before.
A response to a flooding emergency on this scale doesn’t just happen, it as a result of tried and tested training, exercises, table top discussions and crisis management meetings. While each emergency and voluntary service involved in these situations have their own specific role to play, each service is as valuable as the next, and they all work together efficiently. The lead agency in this case is the Local Authority.
Crisis Management meetings are held regularly from early morning to late at night. The media is kept up-to-date and the public informed of on going efforts and situations.
Voluntary services such as the Civil Defence, Limerick Marine Rescue and the Irish Red Cross have played a crucial role in this emergency response. The Civil Defence which is attached to the Local Authority and the Department of Defence are trained volunteers who are equipped and prepared in dealing with many aspects of a crisis which can assist both the Local Authority and the community.
As flood waters subsided, the clean-up began and the pumping of water continued, fire-fighters and Council workers concentrated their efforts on the estates within Little Island, which was worst affected. While many people were taken from their homes on Friday and Saturday by rescue services, many others returned on Sunday to assess the damage caused. Some people have lost their homes and their cars.
The Head of the National Directorate for Fire and Emergency Management Sean Hogan arrived in Limerick on Sunday afternoon to assess the damage caused. He was met by members of the Crisis Management team and briefed on the situation by the Controller of Operations and the Incident Commander.
Although warnings were issued about the high tide and the storms, early action by all services couldn’t possibly have reached everyone at once, and with almost 2,000 people in over 300 houses affected by the floods, some residents were not happy with the response and called for swift action to prevent a repeat of the flooding,……..while other residents praised the efforts of those involved in the crisis.
Speaking in Little Island on Sunday, Sean Hogan said his role on the day was to ascertain the response of the services and report back to government.
As the clean-up continues, Limerick City and County Council are still on high alert as a number of high tides and stormy conditions are forecast in the coming days.
Some Clips: Courtesy Sean Curtain
Main image: Courtesy Sean Curtain