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Humanitarian Assistance Scheme

Dáil Éireann Debate, Monday - 11 September 2017

Monday, 11 September 2017

Ceisteanna (1843)

Thomas Pringle

Ceist:

1843. Deputy Thomas Pringle asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the amount of funding provided as part of the humanitarian assistance scheme activated after unprecedented flooding occurred in County Donegal during the week of 22 August, 2017; the number of persons in receipt of this assistance from that period; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [37781/17]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

My Department immediately activated its humanitarian assistance scheme, administered by the local Community Welfare Service (CWS), to assist householders in County Donegal affected by flooding following the recent severe weather conditions.

The purpose of the humanitarian assistance scheme is to prevent hardship by providing income-tested financial support to people whose homes are damaged from flooding and severe weather events and who are not in a position to meet costs for essential needs, replacement of household items and in some instances structural repair. In dealing with emergency events of this nature, the Department generally adopts a three stage approach as follows:

- Stage 1 is to provide emergency income support payments (food, clothing and personal items) in the immediate aftermath of the event. A relatively small amount of financial assistance is generally provided initially.

- Stage 2 generally involves the replacement of white goods, basic furniture items and other essential household items. It is not until the flood water abates and houses dry out that the full extent of the damage to homes will become fully known.

- Stage 3 is to identify what longer term financial support or works are required. It could take some time before this stage of response commences and this involves a cross Departmental/Agency response. Works carried out can include plastering, dry-lining, relaying of floors, electrical re-wiring and painting.

The Department has provided financial support under Stage 1 to over 130 affected households and payments are continuing to be processed, including some under Stage 2. The Government has not set a limit on the amount that can be paid to an individual household under this scheme. Levels of payment depend on the relative severity of damage experienced and the household’s ability to meet these costs ensuring that the funding is appropriately targeted. The scheme is demand led and there is a time-lag between the flooding event and actual claims for financial support.

It is unclear at this time the response the level of funding that will be required to return homes to a habitable condition. However, it is expected that the value of payments under the scheme will increase as we continue to move into Stage 2 and Stage 3 supports.

People seeking assistance under the humanitarian assistance scheme should contact their local Intreo Centre where CWS staff are available to offer assistance or contact the Buncrana Intreo Centre on 074 9364600.

Further information on the scheme is available on the Department’s website: http://www.welfare.ie/en/Pages/Humanitarian-Assistance-Scheme.aspx.

I trust this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

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