Ulster Unionist MLA for East Belfast, Michael Copeland, has expressed very grave concerns in the wake of further flooding in sevaeral parts of the constituency.
Following a visit to a number of households affected by the floods, Michael said:
“Ihave visited locations at Braniel, Clonduff, Merok, Montgomery Road, Cregagh, the Newtownards Road, Loopland and Hillsborough Drive to see what assistance was needed and at that stage and in all the areas I visited the message was the same, everyone was desperately in need of sandbags to protect their homes.
It is clear that the flooded areas are almost exactly the same as those caught up last time around and the time before that. Surely to God we shouldhave learned the lessons of the past?
Yes, compensation will need to be arranged but it is not the foremost thought in anyone's head and to suggest so is to add insult to injury. These households and families are once more facing the unenviable task of trying to salvage their possessions, many of those affected are elderly, or have small children, or are living with medical conditions or disabilities and could do without having to go through this ritual again.
To prevent these scenes recurring next time there is a short period of heavy rain we simply need an assurance now that money will be invested to carryout the necessary improvements. To be most effective this requires a multi-departmental approach with all departments, agencies and council bodies working together to do what is needed.”
In conclusion Michael added: “In the past few hours I have received hundreds of telephone calls and text messages, I have answered as many as I could and returned calls to many more. By the sheer volume of calls it is clear that many people arecaught up in this and they quite rightly feel let down. There is an onus on u sall to do everything possible to prevent this from happening again and I will do all that I can to help.”