In recognition of the devastation suffered by people in many areas of the country as a result of the flooding from November 2009 onwards the Government set up a humanitarian assistance scheme to provide income tested financial support to people who have suffered damage to their homes not covered by insurance. The scheme had two objectives. First, it provided financial and other assistance, without an income test, in the immediate aftermath of the flooding. Secondly, it provided income tested financial support for the replacement of essential household items and home repairs in cases not covered by insurance.
The Community Welfare Service of the Health Service Executive (HSE) provided support to households under the humanitarian assistance scheme with payments being made to over 1,300 individuals to the value of almost €1.7m throughout the country. The bulk of the overall cost of repairing the damage caused to individuals' homes by the flooding was met through insurance policies held by the people affected.
Most of the payments made under the humanitarian assistance scheme were in respect of immediate needs such as clothing, food, bedding and emergency accommodation needs. These emergency payments were made without delay and without regard to the household income as the primary objective were to address the person's immediate needs.
The level of payment available under the aid scheme to any qualified individual depended on the severity of the damage to that person's home and the extent of the loss experienced as well as household income and general family circumstances. The scheme provided hardship alleviation as opposed to full compensation. As on previous occasions, commercial or business losses were not covered by the scheme nor were losses which were covered by household insurance.
The Government is aware that for various reasons, a small number of people have been unable to resume living at their home and others, while they have resumed living at their home, are still faced with significant problems arising from the flooding. The Government is also aware that some householders who are continuing to experience significant housing problems as a result of the November 2009 flooding are considering the possibility of relocating rather than resuming living at their original home.
In light of this, the Government has decided that support may be available in such cases where:
1. Serious and permanent damage has been caused to the family home by the November 2009 flooding;
2. There is a high probability of a recurrence of serious flooding because of flood depth, duration or frequency on a scale that could further damage the family home;
3. The house cannot be protected from flooding at an economically feasible cost;
4. The household is unable to secure insurance against flooding as a result of the November 2009 floods.
Support will only be considered for relocation in cases where the cost of remedial works would exceed the cost of relocation, as determined by the Office of Public Works (OPW).
The following considerations will also apply:
1. The gross cost of relocation underpinning the level of support provided will not exceed the cost of providing a reasonable home in the area in question, as determined by the local authority;
2. The existing house must be demolished and the site must be rehabilitated , which may require planning permission from the local authority;
3. If the household has settled a claim with their insurance company, the funds provided in settlement of that claim will be taken into account in determining the amount of funding, if any, provided for relocation. Beneficiaries will be required to instruct their insurance company to provide information in that regard;
Officials from the Department have visited the homes in question and are now in discussions with the Office of Public Works to establish what remedial works, if any, can be carried out to protect these houses from future flooding.