Northern Irish Farmers Hit Hard By Floods

According to a charity based in Northern Ireland, the farmers in the northwestern region have been experiencing “trying times” as a result of prolonged bad weather and the resultant flooding. On August 22, the northwest part of Northern Ireland received two-thirds of the average monthly rainfall in just 8 hours. Over 100 people had to be rescued from the flooding that resulted. Homes, roads, and fields alike were flooded out, devastating crops and destroying livelihoods. It was so bad that many roads and bridges simply crumbled from the sheer destructive force of the floodwaters. Over 1,000 hectares of farmland was submerged. In the end, repairs are estimated to cost over 10 million pounds.

Even now, five months later, some families are unable to return to their homes. The worst part is that the rebuilding effort has not even begun yet due to a dispute between the two ruling parties, Sinn Fein and the Democratic Unionist Party. The dispute stems from an incentive program designed to encourage the use of renewable energy for heating. Loopholes in the scheme allowed some people to profit greatly by abusing the program, and DUP minister Arlene Foster has come under fire, as she was in charge of the department of enterpprise, trade, and investment when the incentive program was adopted. Because of the ongoing inquiry relating to this, there is currently no minister of agriculture in place at Stormont. The government has stated that no financial support scheme for the rebuilding effort can be approved until a new minister is in place. More information on this can be found here: http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-northern-ireland-foyle-west-42691587

A charity organization called Rural Support has been doing what it can to help the farmers in this region, but they say their ability to help is limited by lack of funds, and that the area truly needs a minister in place who can release the funds that are needed. Senior Irish government figure Joe McHugh has called for emergency funding to be utilized for the people here, and the government has confirmed that some of those affected have received emergency financial assistance.

With over 200 farms affected by this disaster, one can hardly blame the people of this area for feeling a little angry, as the current government deadlock has made a natural disaster even worse than it already had been.

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