Galway Advertiser 2009/GA_2009_12_03/GA_0312_E1_012.pdf
12 N E W S
December 3 2009
HSE has given one hundred `urgent need payments' so far to flooding victims
Daire Kelly outside his family home in east Galway. Picture: Hany Marzouk
BY MARY O'CONNOR The HSE West's community welfare service has given about 100 "urgent need payments" costing around 50,000 to individuals and families affected by the flooding in south and east Galway. Where necessary, officers are providing immediate payments without applying a means
test, a spokesperson for the local health authority said this week. "Community welfare officers were available all over the weekend and dealt with urgent cases by issuing immediate payments on Saturday and Sunday. They continue to be available around the clock to address urgent cases and same day payments are being made."
Staff are dealing with a "large number" of queries and HSE personnel are visiting the affected areas in a follow-up to the queries, the spokesperson outlines. "In addition to assisting families and individuals to meet immediate and urgent costs, a primary function of the Humanitarian Aid Fund is to enable flood victims to restore their homes to a
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safe and habitable condition. Claims from households who are uninsured or who cannot afford through their own resources to restore their homes to a habitable condition, will be dealt with on receipt of such claims. A household's capacity to meet the costs of restoring their homes to a habitable condition will be considered." The HSE has set up both an information line and a counselling helpline in the aftermath of the flooding. The information line (1800 283 036) was set up to advise people about the practical services available to help them. "Callers to this helpline will be asked to provide their name, address, contact number, PPS number and details of the service they require. HSE staff will then provide information on the services available to assist them." The counselling helpline (1800 245 600) operates from 9.30 am to 5.30 pm Monday to Friday. "It is staffed by psychology and social work professionals. It aims to assist callers in managing stressful emotions and anxieties that can often occur after challenging events. Counselling support for callers in managing stress, together with advice for families with children and vulnerable others, will be provided."