Shimna River bursts banks and causes havoc in Newcastle.
Around 6am this morning, the Shimna River burst its banks and flooded a large section of Newcastle after a night of very heavy rainfall and strong wind caused by Storm Francis.
The early morning drama began as the water level suddenly started to rise and within 15 minutes had reached the height of a car roof.
Residents quickly alerted their neighbours and left the stricken scene.
NIFRS firemen arrived quickly to the area and helped residents to safety using rubber dingies. An 87-year old lady was rescued and moved to a safer house about the flood level. Search and Rescue members too were on the scene quickly and once light conditions were satisfactory, they deployed their drone to check out the area for anyone stranded by the flood.
Damage to property probably comes into the region of well over £1,000,000 with cars too ruined in the flood before their owners could drive them to safety.
There were fears that the water level could rise again today at high tide at 430pm.
Rogan Welcomes Quick Support By Communities Minister.
Sinn Féin MLA Emma Rogan has welcomed the quick action by Communities Minister Carál Ni Chuilin in activating the emergency payment scheme for those effected by flooding as a consequence of Storm Francis.
The South Down MLA said: “I welcome the swift action by Communities Minister Carál Ni Chuilin in activating the emergency payment scheme for those impacted by flooding today.
“The scheme will allow homeowners impacted by flooding to quickly access a payment of Ł1,000.
“This payment will assist homeowners to make their homes habitable as quickly as possible.
“I am calling on the Infrastructure Minister Nichola Mallon to also put in place a financial support scheme to assist homeowners.
“Sinn Féin will continue to work on the ground, in the Assembly and within councils to ensure maximum support for those impacted by Storm Francis.”
McGrath says flood payment scheme must provide support for Newcastle.
SDLP MLA Colin McGrath has said that the Department for Communities needs to provide the Flood Payment Scheme to support residents in the wake of Storm Francis.
Commenting, the South Down MLA said: “We have scenes of utter destruction in Newcastle. People’s homes flooded, their cars washed away and streets strewn with river debris.
“This is a traumatic time for families and they need all the help and assistance that they can get.
“There is a Flooding Scheme available which can provide immediate help for those that have been impacted by floods.
“This is a small payment but can be released quite quickly. I understand the scheme, administered by the Department for Communities, must be opened so people can access help when they need it most.
“The destruction and helplessness that can come from a flooding incident is stressful and frightening for people. I have contacted the Minister of Communities and asked that this scheme is available.
“I was pleased to see SDLP Minister Nichola Mallon on the ground today in Newcastle. The Minister has confirmed that she will also ensure the delivery of a flood alleviation scheme in Newcastle to help prevent future flooding in the area.
“Newcastle has waited a long time for such a scheme. Now that the SDLP is in the Ministry, it’s great to see delivery will happen on the ground.”
Alliance Cllr Andrew McMurray astounded at the scale of the damage.
Cllr Murray said: “This is just heart-breaking for the local residents who have have their homes ruined.
“Every assistance must now be made available to help rectify this.
“Storm Francis has proven to be a disaster for Newcastle. I hope that there is no recurrence of the flooding and that the residents are soon back home again.”