Thursday, December 25, 2008

UK floods still haunt families 18 months on

The Times (UK): Thousands of people have spent their second Christmas in temporary accomodation, 18 months after the flooding in the summer of 2007 destroyed homes across the country. At least 500 families are still out of their houses, with about one tenth still living in caravans whilst they wait for their homes to be renovated or for the money from insurance companies to pay for the damage.

Severe flooding across the UK last July forced 17,000 families from their homes, and sparked one of the largest recovery efforts since the second world war. More than 1,000 households were not back in their houses in mid-November, and the government said around 500 families would still be out of their homes by Christmas. Four hundred families in Morpeth are also “homeless” after flooding there last September damaged 1,060 homes.

Thirteen people died either during or because of the floods in 2007. 55,000 properties were flooded, and 7,000 people had to be rescued by the emergency services. The final cost to the insurance industry is thought to £3.1 billion.

Hull, the city most badly affected by the flooding, saw 100mm of rainfall in one day: “We had the equivalent of 25 olympic swimming pools falling on Hull in 24 hours. The actual volume of rain was unbelievable," said Gilly Greensitt from Hull City Council. They received almost 10,000 emergency calls in two days, as the flooding hit 91 of the city's 99 schools, and damaged 1300 businesses....

Flood gate in Hull, shot by Immanuel Giel, October 2006, Wikimedia Commons

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