100 signatures reached
To: Minister Alan Kelly and the Irish government
More than sweeping brushes - support for communities at risk of flooding
Support community-based responses to flooding
Why is this important?
As a family, we have experienced two major flooding incidents - our family home in Galway in September 2015 and my mother's home a number of years ago - followed by a near escape over Christmas in my mother's home. In the days following Christmas, we witnessed elderly people and families using sweeping brushes and wheelie bins to bail water in an attempt to protect their homes, homes that had already been destroyed a few years earlier. The impact on other communities around the country was, in this instance, far worse.
Flooding, and the fear of it that permeates communities prone, is life -destroying. People need to be equipped and supported to protect their homes and businesses. The inevitability of these events needs to be conceded and the promises of action that we have been hearing needs to happen now.
In terms of crisis response (prevention is a whole other story) in the immediate term;
• There needs to be local co-ordination and a crisis response plan in areas that are prone to flooding, including a text alert system to people willing to help;
• There should be a store of sand-bags in these areas. Easy-to-store sand-bags (five in a box about the size of a lap-top box) are now available, but these are generally distributed far too late. In our own case we got a delivery of sand-bags the day after the flood. That evening a local politician sourced them and while it wasn’t too late, it would have been far better if they had been available earlier;
• At one stage the fire brigade brought a small pump and generator and this cleared the water out of the worst affected homes in a few minutes – work that had taken us all night. These should be available in all flood prone areas and training provided to local people to be able to use it;
• People in these areas should receive grants to install flood-barriers – these work unless the flood is overwhelming;
• Guarantees that either insurance companies will be required to provide flood insurance or a national insurance fund is established.