Saturday, July 24, 2010

Irish army lines up new trucks to tackle flooding

Michael Lavery in the Herald (Ireland): The Army is gearing up to deal with more apocalyptic style flooding this winter. Last November's floods were described by Environment Minister John Gormley as "a once in 800 years event," but new research shows that extreme weather leading to an increased risk of flooding will become more commonplace in Ireland as climate change takes hold.

The big flood -- and the New Year big freeze -- together cost the country over €540m. During that crisis the Defence Forces provided hundreds of troops, vehicles, flat bottomed boats, helicopters, and filled sandbags as the emergency services battled to contain the damage.

The main vehicles used were Scania 6x6 trucks and four-wheel drive Nissan Patrols and Mitsubishi Pajeros. The Defence Forces has Scorpion light tanks and BV-206 air defence vehicles which are amphibious but which are unsuitable for carrying cargo or people.

Now a new order for five all- terrain vehicles for the Army's Engineer Corps specifies that the trucks must be able to operate in a flood relief role in aid of the civil power. The new vehicles have to be self-draining to a minimum of 12 inches, and its air intake should be high enough to drive in 18 inches of flood waters. According to the documents the vehicles should provide a "basic amphibious capability"….

Some flooding in Drumenny Townland, shot by Kenneth Allen, Wikimedia Commons via Geograph UK, under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license

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