Saturday, December 28, 2013

Prime Minister Cameron confronted by angry residents of flooded village

Robert Booth in the Guardian (UK): David Cameron has been confronted by angry residents of a village in Kent that was flooded by waist-high waters over the Christmas holidays. When the prime minister swept into the devastated community in his Range Rover to talk to residents and members of the emergency services on Friday morning, despair at nature's power turned to recrimination over the perceived inadequacy of the official response.

Erica Olivares, 49, was among the residents of a row of early-18th-century cottages in Yalding who were sluicing out silt from inundated floors and hauling out sodden Christmas trees when Cameron arrived with his entourage. Rushing across the street, she told the prime minister that the village felt they had been left to struggle on their own. About 100 homes had to be abandoned on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

"We were literally abandoned," she told him angrily. "We had no rescuers, no nothing for the whole day. It was Christmas." Cameron, who was due to talk to Environment Agency officers and firefighters, seemed taken aback. He asked what she needed now and urged her to "get on to the council", but she replied that "they all decided to go on holiday".

"The Environment Agency said it was up to the council and when I did get through to the council they said if you need sandbags, get your own," she later said. Her grandmother's walnut-veneer cabinet was ruined, chairs were upended and her Christmas tree was about the only thing that was standing....

A lock in Yalding, Kent, shot by Penny Mayes, Wikimedia Commons via Geograph UK, under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license

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