Flood drama for rescued family

A local woman and her 4-year-old daughter had to be rescued from their severely flooded home in Derry on Tuesday night by members of the Red Cross Fire and Emergency Support Service (FESS) team.

Red Cross FESS volunteer, Ivan Charleton, last night drove one of the charity’s specially adapted mobile homes from its base at Omagh fire station to Derry to assist the mother and child whose home had flooded.

“The roads were like rivers the whole way to Derry,” he said. “The weather was unbelievable. When we got there it was after midnight.

“The water was up to the windows of the house and the woman and her little boy were in their nightclothes with nowhere else to go. The child was crying hysterically; obviously very frightened, and the family dog had to be rescued after nearly drowning in the house.

“The woman told me that she’d only finished decorating. Everything in the house, furniture, Christmas tree and decorations were all destroyed.

“We provided the family with clothing, wash bags and advice and stayed with them until they were put up in a local hotel.”

Meanwhile, local councillors have commended residents for their patience and resilience following flooding in parts of Hazelbank and Ballymacgroarty earlier this week.

Sinn Féin Councillor Gerry MacLochlainn said: “I would like to commend local residents of Beallachmor for their patience and resilience during the flooding of their homes.

“A word of thanks must go to the staff from all agencies who were more than helpful.

Councillor Mickey Cooper also said the removal of a grill from one of the local culverts had allowed debris to block the normal flow of water.

“Whether it was stolen for profit or vandalism, it has caused untold misery to half a dozen families who now have to spend Christmas out of their homes with some residents losing most of their contents including children’s Christmas presents.

“The culprits should be a ashamed of themselves for causing this devastation,” he said.