More than 60 families given financial assistance so far after floods – McHugh

-   Joe McHugh

More than sixty families have been given financial aid since last week’s floods, Minister Joe McHugh has confirmed.
Minister of State at the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht and Fine Gael Donegal TD, Joe McHugh, said further supports are being made available and Donegal County Council staff are also assisting 40 families in securing accommodation.
“Since Thursday morning when the Humanitarian Assistance Scheme was activated, over 60 households have received financial assistance under the scheme from the Department of Social Protection,” Minister McHugh said.
“Staff from across the division including Sligo have been travelling in to assist in the areas most affected and are also volunteering to cover emergency on call over evenings and weekends.
“The Department had a presence in the Buncrana GAA club today along with a number of other agencies involved and are available to assist anyone affected.”
Minister McHugh added: “We continue to call on anyone in need to get in contact with the Department of Social Protection. Cash payments are there for all those who lost clothes and possessions in the flood.
“We would especially encourage anyone who might not have required assistance under stage one of the scheme to get in contact via the Buncrana and Carndonagh offices as we move from stage one into stage two.”

The scheme is open to all including self-employed. In dealing with emergency events of this nature, the Department adopts a three stage approach as follows:

· Stage 1 is to provide emergency income support payments (food, clothing and personal items) in the immediate aftermath of the event. These payments are made immediately to the families and individuals affected.
· Stage 2 generally involves the replacement of white goods, basic furniture items and other essential household items. It is not until the flood water abates and houses dry out that the full extent of the damage to homes will become known and we can begin to make these payments to the people affected.
· Stage 3 is to identify what longer term financial support or works are required. It could take some time before this stage of response commences and this involves a cross Departmental/Agency response. Works carried out can include plastering, dry-lining, relaying of floors, electrical re-wiring and painting
Minister McHugh said Donegal County Council staff had worked across all areas through the weekend.
“Council staff have assisted 40 families with accommodation and some families have already moved into new homes,” he said.
“Work on roads and bridges continues apace and I know the council are working non-stop on this aspect of the recovery. In particular I want to thank all the council staff who have worked so hard for local people in recent days.”
The Department of Social Protection is holding a further clinic in Carndonagh tomorrow (Monday) where anyone affected by the flooding can seek financial assistance.
A Government scheme to financially assist small businesses, voluntary groups and sporting organisations with be announced in the coming days and will be administered by the Red Cross.

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