37 rescued from flood water in Northern Ireland

Thirty-seven people have been rescued from flood water in Northern Ireland, the fire service said.

Storm Francis has battered large parts of the country with high winds and heavy rain.

Elderly residents had to be rescued from the South Down coastal resort town of Newcastle after a river burst its banks.

In Draperstown, Co Londonderry, rescuers had to save nine people from inside a house, along with four outside who were trying to help.

A fire service statement said: “Between midnight and 5pm today (25 August) we received 49 flooding-related calls and attended 28 flooding incidents across the Newcastle, Maghera, Draperstown and Cookstown areas.

“Working in challenging conditions, firefighters, with the support of other agencies, rescued 37 people from flood water.”

In Co Tyrone the emergency services carried out water rescues.

The Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service (NIFRS) added: “With more rainfall expected late into this evening, we have redeployed resources to deal with any further flooding whilst maintaining our normal emergency response.”

A boat was used to help residents in Newcastle, a picturesque east coast town on the edge of the Mourne Mountains.

Up to 300 homes have been affected and streets left under three or four feet of water, a local representative said.

Stormont Assembly member Colin McGrath said: “It is like a disaster zone.”

Those living in the Shimna Road area have been battling flood water since the river the road is named after overflowed.