No one can have missed the fact that last year saw an increase in the number of homes and businesses being flooded, with some suffering more than once. Heavy rain falling onto saturated ground has resulted in a huge number of properties being flooded, with towns and villages throughout the country being affected. It is estimated that about five and a half million properties may be at risk of flooding. Small towns in the Upper Calder Valley in Yorkshire, including Todmorden and Hebden Bridge, were flooded more than once, with some homes affected four or more times. This pattern was repeated in villages in the South West.
What Problems Does Flooding Bring?
Flooding brings many problems, not all of them foreseen. Someone living or working in a building which may be vulnerable to flooding should have a plan of what they will do and ensure that their buildings insurance is up-to-date and adequate.
If flooding does occur, then the householders may become homeless and have to find somewhere else to stay. Or they may be able to live upstairs, but then have the problem of cooking meals. Friends and family may be able to help, or it might be a question of takeaways and pubs. If there are pets living in the house, then what to do with them during the clean-up and renovation work may be a problem. Businesses may be unable to operate for a while, bringing financial problems for the owner and staff.
Flooding affects the infrastructure too and last summer roads were washed away and railway tracks damaged. Villages can be cut off, leading to problems if there are people with medical needs. Electricity supplies can be affected.
Water doesn’t always arrive slowly, giving time for people to reach a safe place. It can become a dangerous torrent in a matter of minutes and in the floods of 2012 several people were injured and killed.
What Can Be Done to Reduce The Impact?
Where property is susceptible to flooding, the householder would do well to register with the Environment Agency to get warnings. A stock of sandbags and purpose-built flood boards to fit in all external doors would be advisable. Householders should also have a plan of action.
Documents such as birth certificates, passports and buildings insurance policies should be kept in a safe place in a plastic wallet. Other items which should be readily available include a torch, mobile phone, bottled water in case the water supply is contaminated, Wellingtons and waterproof clothing.
What Support Might Be Available?
In some areas, there was a lot of community activity to support those affected. There was financial help, with businesses and individuals arranging fund-raising events. In the Calder Valley, volunteers also arranged for the collection and distribution of unwanted furniture and household goods to help those who had lost items in the floods. Other people cooked midday meals for those whose kitchen was out of order.
Article by Mark Martin, insurance writer for Money Super Market
Photo source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/mhauri/1071046432/