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Friday, August 01, 2008

Flood waters recede but the damage is done

“It was like something out of a film”

Cleanup operations are continuing in Newcastle West and its environs following the “worst flooding in county Limerick history”.

The cleanup operation, unlike any ever seen, is being coordinated by Limerick county council in conjunction with emergency services. Numerous businesses including newsagents, a shoe shop, an auctioneers and a hair salon have been ruined. Numerous homes were also destroyed when the river Arra burst its bank.

Limerick areas of Newcastle West, Athea , Monegea , Glin ,Feenagh , Ballingarry, Ardagh, Broadford and Castlemahon have all been affected by the flooding but the worst of the flooding has been concentrated on the quays in Newcastle West.Adjoining roads of Maiden Street and St. Itas Road in thre town have also been badly affected. It’s feared there may be millions of euro worth of damage.

Reports on local radio today told of one story where local workers of a quarry used a front loader tractor in a desperate effort to remove water from a premise in the town.

The Waterford based coastguard helicopter spent nearly 3 hours surveying the damage from overhead this morning guiding emergency services to stranded motorists.

Roads were damaged as tarmac lifted from roads during the swell with reports that the centre of the town was ‘an ocean’ overnight. Residents in affected areas are asked to conserve drinking water today as the possibility of water supply contamination cannot be ruled out.

At this early stage it’s believed a cloudburst further up the River Arra may have been a major factor in Newcastle West flooding.

Officials from number agencies are on scene including the Fire service, Limerick county council, Civil defence, Gardai and Health Service Executive. Volunteers from the Marine Search and Rescue who were deployed to the area at 2am to rescue a man from the quays, were this morning, still on scene assisting locals.

County Councillor Patrick O' Donovan told the irish times website today,

“It was like something out of a horror film. I have never seen so much water floating down a street, there were cars and vans floating down the street.The rain was like a monsoon here last night. At one stage it was at my ankles, and as I turned the corner to leave it was at my knees."
Though the town is now passable by car, the north quay remains closed. Motorists are asked to take extra care while travelling in and around the area. Some Phone lines are down in Newcastle West with 1,500 people still without power.

The Limerick NewsWire Blog was the first to break the story at 10.45pm Thursday night following an email form a resident in the area.

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