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Last Updated: Monday, 11 April, 2005, 14:08 GMT 15:08 UK
Cash help for school storm damage
Jack McConnell in Benbecula - image supplied by Allan Milligan
Jack McConnell said the communities were inspirational
The Scottish Executive is to help pay for the reconstruction of a Western Isles primary school which was damaged by storms earlier this year.

Jack McConnell said it would contribute towards the cost of rebuilding Balivanich School in Benbecula.

The first minister was in the Western Isles to see the impact of the storms.

He met in private with members of the MacPherson family, who lost five relatives when they were swept off a causeway in January.

The school at Balivanich, which has 103 pupils, will reopen on 18 April.

Pupils have been taught in a nearby former army base while repair work is carried out.

The resilience of the communities and their determination to rebuild their islands is an inspiration to us all
Jack McConnell
First Minister

Archie and Murdina MacPherson, their children Andrew and Hannah and grandfather Calum Campbell died after attempting to flee flooding in their home on South Uist during the storms.

Mr McConnell said the first priority was to rebuild the school and then improve transport links by reinstating the North Ford causeway and the breakwater at Ceann a Gharaidh.

"The resilience of the communities and their determination to rebuild their islands is an inspiration to us all.

"The process of recovery will take a long time, but the government will do everything it can to help repair the damage," he added.

The storms also caused widespread travel problems and left thousands of homes without power.

MSP speaks of island deaths grief
15 Jan 05 |  Scotland
Body of young storm victim found
14 Jan 05 |  Scotland
Grieving relatives speak of loss
13 Jan 05 |  Scotland

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