“Inadequate” response to flooding emergency

Newtownabbey Alliance Councillor Tom Campbell has criticised the response of some statutory agencies to the weekend severe flooding describing it as “completely inadequate and unacceptable”.

Cllr Campbell said:

“For many the misery of flooding was added to by the lack of response from the government departments. With increasingly poor and wet weather ongoing over the last few weeks it should not have been difficult to make effective contingency plans to meet any emergency of the sort faced by many residents over the weekend.”

He continued: “Both the Water and Roads agencies failed in their responsibilities to meet the flooding emergency. This was particularly so in getting a response from the emergency numbers. I tried without success to get beyond an engaged tone with the Water Service. The Roads Service was even worse. I received a telephone call from a frustrated resident in the Hightown area of Glengormley around teatime. She had been constantly getting an engaged tone from the Roads Service for around three hours. I received the engaged tone for nearly forty minutes. When I did manage to get a response, it was an automated response leaving me holding without response for another forty minutes. In the end I had to give up as it was clear that there were insufficient resources to answer the telephone. An email I sent has not even had an acknowledgement.”

Cllr Campbell concluded: “Ratepayers should be entitled to a service fit for purpose. It may well have been that there were not enough staff to provide practical assistance with sandbags but the least that we should be entitled to expect is that after a reasonable period of time, the telephone should be answered, if only for some advice or reassurance. This service was not on offer this weekend and I hope that lessons can be learnt. I was able to get through without difficulty to the Police and also the Fire and Rescue Department. Interestingly, in relation to the latter, the telephone was answered by a Fire Commander, which showed the sort of dedication and professionalism the public so often sees from the emergency services.”


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