Counting cost of worst storm in living memory

The damage caused to Kenny Richmond's car and right (his car in the river) Pictures courtesy of Kenny Richmond.
The damage caused to Kenny Richmond's car and right (his car in the river) Pictures courtesy of Kenny Richmond.

Over 100 people were rescued from emergency situations during the torrential storms across the north west.

Fire & Rescue officers and other emergency services across Counties Derry, Donegal and Tyrone responded to a constant stream of call-outs as roads and bridges were swept away and local people banded together to help rescue residents from homes with motorists trapped by the flood waters.

While assessments of the damage are ongoing, there is some speculation that the repair bill will total tens of millions of pounds on each side of the border as a result of the worst storm to hit the north west in living memory, but during which, miraculously, nobody was killed.

In Derry, some of the worst affected regions were Eglinton, where numerous homes were severely damaged and belongings destroyed as several feet of water gushed in. Motorists became trapped in the flooding along Buncrana Road, in Newbuildings and in Claudy on Tuesday night into Wednesday morning as well as Drumahoe, where sports grounds were swamped and around 15 to 20 cars stationed at the ‘park and ride’ car park were swept into the River Faughan.

Local man Kenny Richmond was in Belfast when he heard that his car was one of those washed away in the storms. Speaking after his vehicle, which was completely destroyed, was recovered, he said: “I was in Belfast on Tuesday night and I saw something on Facebook about the situation so I rang my brother and he was already at the scene. The cars were already gone at that stage and there was no chance of getting it out of the car park.

“It’s a nightmare. It was a great wee car with full MOT. I was chatting to another guy who was also in Belfast and he hasn’t found his car yet , but the insurance is not going to pay any money as the damage can’t be assessed.”

Kenny said that the contents of his car, including golf equipment, his extensive CD collectio, and a present from a relative of his girlfriend were all destroyed. “It was bad luck and I am gutted, but when I saw people’s houses ruined, that put it into perspective. I’ll manage and it could have been worse. Had we received a proper extreme weather warning, people could have got their cars out and got their homes prepared for the storm, but there wasn’t one.”

Parts of the city centre were also flooded, with the Strand Road and also the Lecky Road area also badly affected.

Fire-fighters in the north have confirmed that 93 people trapped by the floods were rescued over nine hours, with more people rescued in Inishowen, where a number of roads remain closed.