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Scores of Scots forced out of home at New Year by floods

More than 100 people will spend the New Year away from home after they were evacuated following flooding in parts of Scotland.

Around 150 people were evacuated from their properties after torrential rain yesterday, with Dumfries and Galloway and Ayrshire particularly badly hit.

Seven people were airlifted to safety by a Royal Navy Sea King helicopter from a farmhouse near Closeburn in Thornhill, Dumfries and Galloway after it was cut off by flood water.

Around 40 houses in Kirkconnel, Dumfries and Galloway, were evacuated, as were 25 in Dumfries after the River Nith burst its banks, flooding the Whitesands area.

The flooding also caused disruption on the roads, with many routes shut or only passable with care.

The Scottish Government announced that it has activated the Bellwin Scheme as a result of the severe storms over the last 10 days.

This is a discretionary scheme to give financial assistance to councils which face an undue financial burden as a result of large-scale emergencies.

Ministers will consider emergency financial assistance for any local authority that qualifies under the terms of the scheme.

Finance Secretary John Swinney said: "It is vital that nothing should deter local authorities from moving quickly to recovery and repair the extensive damage caused by this weekend's storms.

"That is why I have today agreed to activate the Bellwin scheme which provides support to affected councils to assist with immediate and unforeseen costs of dealing with the aftermath of the severe weather.

"We look forward to working with those councils who apply to the scheme to ensure that resources are made available as appropriate."

Other evacuations yesterday included 28 people rescued by firefighters from properties in Sanquhar in Dumfries and Galloway and 15 from six properties in New Cumnock in Ayrshire.

In Dundee, 50 properties were evacuated after heavy rain caused a wall to collapse and a landslide at the rear of properties in Gardner Street.

Residents have been advised to stay away from their properties until work to stabilise the ground is completed.

The council is making arrangements for them to collect essential possessions from their homes, while police and private security officers will ensure vacant properties are monitored 24 hours a day during the emergency works.

The Scottish Government said that 150 people have been evacuated and 100 properties have been affected so far by the flooding.

All the families that have been evacuated are staying with friends or families or have been housed in temporary accommodation.

Environment Minister Paul Wheelhouse visited Dumfries yesterday to see work being done to protect communities from flooding.

He said: "The recent bad weather has caused some of the worst flooding ever recorded in parts of Dumfries and Galloway, Ayrshire and the Scottish Borders and I'd like to pay tribute to all those involved in supporting communities affected in locations there and elsewhere around Scotland.

"The councils, local fire and rescue services, other emergency services and utility companies have reacted very swiftly to minimise the impact of rising water levels and establish welfare centres for affected communities."

More rain is forecast for later this week, with some localised flooding possible on Wednesday afternoon and evening in Tayside, Dumfries & Galloway and the Borders.

On Friday, flooding is possible in the same areas with others across Scotland possibly being affected.

The Scottish Government said it will continue to monitor the situation very closely along with SEPA and the Met Office.

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