Aidan recalls the devastation caused by flooding in Ireland
Over the past decade, the words “heavy rainfall” and “flooding” are synonymous with Clonmel in County Tipperary and indeed other parts of the country. Aidan, who grew up in Clonmel recalls the devastation caused by flooding in Ireland.
Being in a middle of, basically, a National emergency, which I’m guessing would have affected you and your loved ones, is quite an unusual event so how would you describe your experience?
From an early age I recall the devastation caused by flooding,as a teenager I grew up in Clonmel Co.Tipperary,a town no stranger to flooding, at that point in life I guess my focus was on the rescue phase and the local branch provided as much help as we could. As a teenager I was somewhat free from the hidden impacts flooding on homes and families.It seems that flooding has a habit of following me as in 2009 significant flooding occurred in Ballinasloe Co.Galway and my own home become very close to flooding. This experience revealed the additional impacts of flooding can have the worry,the loss,the feeling of helplessness. I was lucky that my home didn’t take in water,however the signs of steps we took to protect our memories and property in case we flooded can be still seen today.When parts of Ireland experienced heavy rain and flooding again in 2016,I knew this was the time to help those in some way.
What was the role of the Irish Red Cross in said emergency, in general, but also particularly in your local community?
The priority for many agencies is those at most at risk of flooding and in its often the case that those in fear of flooding and who are impacted by changes in the condition of their drinking water are not seen as an emergency.
In 2016 both with my national role deployed our volunteers to engage with those who may be vulnerable and ensure they have access to basic supplies and that they knew the Irish Red Cross was there for them and not forgotten.
At a more local level parts of Galway were suddenly issued with boil water notice,for many households this was an additional cost at a time when money was required to heat homes, fuel cars WTC all of which due to the weather had increased. I accessed funding to arrange bottled water distribution points in East Galway and used social media to advertise these locations.Those who could not make or carry water from the points we a had a supply delivered. While many people were hoping to receive more water and over a longer period the aim of the water distribution programme was to provide a short term emergency supply to allow time for households to adjust and make more sustainable arrangements. As a volunteer organisation maintaining prolonged water distribution stations requires personnel and water. For some households they received vouchers for local supermarkets based on their application to their local Branch of the Irish Red Cross.
Was there a particular event or person you can remember when you were responding to the floods?
I guess no one particular person comes to mind but I do know that some on certain medical treatments were reluctant to use tap water after boiling in fear it would set their treatment back and others who because of using pre paid power were struggling to boil water using extra electricity and pay all other bills
Thanks so much for your help Aidan.
Anyone wishing to donate to the Irish Red Cross work in Ireland, please visit the Irish Red Cross.