By Conor Sharkey
STRABANE District Councillor John Donnell has called for an emergency meeting with the Rivers Agency following the flooding that devestated parts of Magheramason last week.
More than a dozen homeowners in Magheramason and Burndennet have been counting the cost after heavy rainfall caused drains and minor rivers to overflow on Thursday evening.
All week, Strabane District Council's Environmental Health department has been assessing damage caused and yesterday it was confirmed that eight householders are entitled to emergency financial assistance of £1,000.
Similarly, eight homeowners were granted the £1,000 compensation package following flooding in Newtownstewart earlier this year.
Councillor for Magheramason John Donnell said the payments would be greatly welcomed but said the Rivers Agency need to take a serious look at drainage in the area.
"The biggest problems seem to be around Wallace Heights in Magheramason. When a drain at the Keery Road backs up, it sends water down into Wallace Heights and residents are left holding their breath everytime there's a downpour.
"Steps were taken a few years ago when new grids were put in but I just wonder how well they have been maintained.
"I'm sure they have been checked but I think a more detailed look needs to be taken down there. At Council on Tuesday night I called for a site meeting with the Rivers Agency and while I know the problem will never be fully alleviated, I hope something can be done," Mr Donnell said.
Despite the criticism however, the DUP Councillor did praise the efforts of everyone who turned out last Thursday night to help stricken residents.
"I would commend the Roads Service and the Council's Environmental Health department who did a great job in helping last Thursday.
"I know several people have been assessed and will be receiving the £1,000 emergency fund shortly. It's very welcome and while it won't compensate for their losses, it will be a great help," councillor Donnell added.