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Last Updated: Sunday, 29 October 2006, 16:48 GMT
Minister visits storm-hit north
Firefighter and girl wade through the water
Floods caused chaos in the north, north east and Northern Isles
The deputy environment minister has visited Dingwall to see the extent of the damage caused by recent floods.

Rhona Brankin met many of the residents affected by the flood, including a woman who had seen water levels rise as high as her kitchen windowsill.

Another resident revealed how his garden had been "swept away".

Many people had to be rescued from their homes after torrential rain caused chaos across the north on Thursday and Friday.

The minister was accompanied by Highland Council convenor Alison Magee and local councillor Caroline Wilson during the visit.

Ms Brankin said: "It was important for me to be able to come up and see for myself the misery that has been caused.

Given that the council had to deal with such a widespread major incident, it's been a big challenge that I think overall it has risen to it
Deputy Environment Minister Rhona Brankin

"The storms were spread across a very wide area and there's a lot of serious infrastructure damage to roads and pipelines and a small number of people have been flooded.

"There are small local issues that Highland Council is still trying to resolve.

"But given that the council had to deal with such a widespread major incident, it's been a big challenge that I think overall it has risen to it."

Scottish Hydro Electric said all the customers cut off after the storms were reconnected during the weekend.

Roads in the area were back to normal. The A9 had been closed on Sunday afternoon, between Portgower and Helmsdale, for essential repairs to be carried out by Network Rail to the railway line.

The response to the floods was criticised by some politicians, including John Farquhar Munro, MSP for Ross, Skye and Inverness West, who said he wanted to see more help for flooded communities.

People clean up after the storm

Efforts to clean up storm damage
28 Oct 06 |  Highlands and Islands
Power returns to storm-hit homes
27 Oct 06 |  Highlands and Islands
Travel warning as storms strike
26 Oct 06 |  Highlands and Islands
Your Pictures: October flooding
26 Oct 06 |  In Pictures
Rain turns north into water world
26 Oct 06 |  Highlands and Islands


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