Birches couple battling on despite rising flood water

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A Birches couple, whose home is surrounded by flood water, had to have sand bags brought in yesterday (Thursday) to enable them to reach their front door.

Herbie and Jean Anderson, who live at Derryvinney Road, have up to 20 inches of water in their back garden and 13 inches at the entrance to their front door.

The flooding began at Christmas but is now at its worst and, this morning, for the first time, their heating failed to come on, as the water approaches their boiler house.

The cow shed is just one of the outhouses flooded and on Tuesday Herbie had to move his cattle to a neighbour’s shed.

His hay shed is also under water and up to 60-70 bales of silage are floating in the field, although he hopes that the wrapping will protect them.

He said, “This is the worst I have seen it here in 51 years. It has never been as bad as this before. When we got this house up 23 years ago we had no flooding.

“The house actually sits up on a steel column and the floor sits on top of that. If we were at ground level we wouldn’t still be here.”

His wife, who has lived there for 71 years, agreed. The couple, who have been keeping up to date via a flood advisory website, said the lough - which is just half a mile away - is three-and-a-half feet higher than normal.

They praised the staff of Rivers Agency, who are monitoring the water levels on a daily basis, as well as their “very good neighbours and friends” who have helped them out.

Their family, including daughter the Rev Elizabeth Cairns of Mullavilly Parish Church, has also been helping, as have granddaughter Rebecca, grandson Christopher and his friend Bryan Stewart.