Page last updated at 17:08 GMT, Sunday, 17 August 2008 18:08 UK

NI flood victims get cash help

Westlink
A car stuck in floods on the city's Westlink

People whose homes were damaged in severe flooding at the weekend will receive an emergency payment, the government has confirmed.

Those who were affected in last summer's flooding received a pay out of 1,000 to help restore their homes.

Environment Minister Sammy Wilson said the amount of money would only be decided once the full impact of the flooding was clear.

An emergency meeting was held at Stormont on Sunday.

Mr Wilson, Regional Development Minister Conor Murphy and senior civil servants discussed how to tackle the damage across Northern Ireland.

On Saturday, a month's rainfall fell in just 12 hours.

Hundreds of homes were flooded, rivers burst their banks and motorists were left stranded.

The new Broadway underpass in Belfast was filled with 100m litres of water and firefighters have been working constantly to empty it.

Traffic chaos is predicted for Monday after the Fire Service warned it could take 24 hours to clear flood water from a main commuter route into Belfast.

Mr Wilson said funding would be made available through local councils.

"First thing in the morning that compensation package will be available to councils," he said.

"Councils will know what they have to do, individuals will know how they can apply through councils and get the environmental health officer out to verify their property was affected.

"My deepest sympathy goes out to those affected by this flooding.

"I want to congratulate all of the emergency services involved for their hard work and dedication in dealing with its effects."

He said the focus of the aid was not financial, but would be the provision of practical help in clearing up, restoring gas, electricity and phone services and making homes habitable.

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