The Patch

July 3, 2007

Tuesday 3rd July 2007.

Filed under: UK News — Claire @ 8:23 pm

As the more astute of you may be aware, the lovely Denesha is back. Whether this means an end to my frankly mediocre Celebrity/TV reports (sorry, very sorry) I am as yet unsure, but for this week, since I have become somewhat caught up in one of the UK’s most prominent news stories this past week, it seems like the natural thing to do to bore you lovely Patchers with it a little by returning to UK News reporting.

I speak of one of our favourite topics here in the UK, the weather. Over the last week, it’s hit the headlines here for all the wrong reasons. This is, of course, the floods which have desecrated parts of Northern England.

You would have to have been living under a rock not to have heard about it. Sheffield, Doncaster (My hometown) and parts of Worcestershire and Lincolnshire amongst other places were deluged by up to (and possibly above) 8ft of water as rivers including the Don, which is just a mile from my home, burst their banks.

The problems began on Monday, as some of the worst rain I personally have ever seen fell after a polar jet which steers our weather system got stuck, resulting in torrential downpours. By Monday evening, the water was at my door, and by Tuesday it was ankle deep in our house. We were the lucky ones. Others were, by this point, waist (or higher) deep in increasingly dirty water, ruining posessions and taking lives. At least 4 people are known to have died as a result of the floods, with even more (including my own father, who had a heart attack on Thursday) becoming ill as a result of the stress of seeing their homes and their belongings ruined.

At the same time, parts of Sheffield were drowned in high flood water, with the Meadowhall shopping centre forced to close. The rainfall also resulted in the Ulley Resevoir, near Rotherham, being close to bursting, which would have deluged the surrounding area in yet more rain.

Because the fire services were focused on stopping the dam bursting, there was little help for the rest of us. An emergency operator told me (at 7am Tuesday morning, whilst we were trapped in our house with water coming in from all four corners) that we were unlikely to be helped until the water was 2 inches deep inside the house. Luckily, it didn’t get this high, but it’s diabolical that the water needed to be so high for people to be taken seriously.

The council (Doncaster Council) were completely useless. We were told there were no sandbags, resulting in the water getting into properties and causing thousands upon thousands of pounds worth of damage. We then saw that a neighbouring village was being provided with sandbags. They refused to come and unblock the drains, which might have caused some relief. My father had to do this himself for the entire street, as ours haven’t been so much as looked at in several years. Their switchboard advised me to contact the Environment Agency, who would not help as we are not in the direct floodplain of the River Don.

My Street.

Whilst our floodwater finally went down with help from the waterboard who came to help at 7pm on Tuesday evening, (after I called their Bangalore callcentre in a panic at 7am that morning pleading with them to do something), other peoples’ nightmares were just beginning.

The village of Toll Bar, which I had driven through on Monday whilst the rain was at its worst and was at that time virtually unaffected, was quickly becoming submerged. Local residents reported that it took just 90 minutes for this to happen. A week later, the water is just beginning to subside, with the help of mile long pipes brought in from across the country. There is talk of houses being demolished, the school is closed until at least September, and those whose houses have survived may still not be able to move back into their homes until Christmas.

And the most shocking thing? A source close to the Doncaster Council has reportedly said that Toll Bar was sacrificed to save Doncaster town centre, which is itself close to the River Don. Thousands of people have lost everything because the Council wanted to keep their toes dry.

If you want to help, South Yorkshire radio station Hallam FM has mounted an appeal to raise funds for flood victims. Find out more about how you can help my neighbours here.


1 Comment »

  1. I’m sorry to hear about your father’s heart attack and the flooding. 😦

    Comment by denesha — July 4, 2007 @ 12:18 am | Reply

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