Prepare for the flood

North Wales has become the latest area of the country to suffer severe floods; about 500 homes were hit by floodwaters in St Asaph when the river Elwy burst its banks, breaking through defences and turning streets into rivers. Tragically a 91 year old woman died as a result.

It is three years since Cockermouth experienced devastating floods and two years since Cornwall was hit. Once again this year the South West has been adversely affected by unseasonal rainfall causing rivers to breach natural and man-made defences.

Of course Local Age UKs can help and were able to make a real difference in Cockermouth where flood support workers played their part during the evacuation. For older people, flooding can cause particular difficulties, preventing them from reaching essential services, such as hospitals, GP’s or just the local shops. And the problems do not end when the flood waters recede; many homes remain uninhabitable for months afterwards.

Photo credit: University of Salford
Photo credit: University of Salford

It was therefore welcome to hear the recent announcement of £120 million in new funding to speed up the delivery of flood defences that could protect up to 60,000 homes in England. It is undoubtedly the case that more homes are becoming susceptible to flooding and changing weather patterns may mean we have to live with the problem for many years to come.

But at a local level too, communities can play their part in increasing their resilience to flooding and preparing for future bad weather. It is worth checking whether your home is at risk through the Environment Agency’s website, as they now estimate that 1 in 6 households are vulnerable and Age UK also advises people to check that they have the right insurance and a plan in case of flooding.

There are other simple measures you can take, such as finding out if family or friends can offer you a place to stay when flooding is threatened. If you have a disability you should contact your local authority social services and ask them how they will help if you are at risk from flooding.

Be prepared; plan your escape route, particularly if you are in a bungalow. If you live in a house and have window locks, always keep a key upstairs. Find out from your local authority where you would be evacuated to and let family and friends know.

Finally, make a list of useful numbers and keep it in a safe place. It should include:

  • Floodline 0845 988 1188
  • Your local Age UK
  • Family and neighbours who can help including people who can look after your pet, if you have one
  • Your local authority; look in your phone book
  • Your insurance company claim and emergency numbers

 Read another blog about flooding

Find out more about Age UK’s policy work on communities and inclusion

3 thoughts on “Prepare for the flood”

  1. HERE WE GO AGAIN…….For years, flood defence / resilience have been buzzwords – GREAT! as it can & does help & is necessary to many..but it DOESN’T & Won’t stop all surge flooding events which continue to create havoc. We see destruction year on year from major flood incidents & we see untold secondary damage due to poor reinstatement, drying & damage mitigation practices led by Insurers. Secondary damage & the runaway costs associated with the recovery process have a large impact on those at flood risk. (& lets not forget the devastation caused during freezes). Year on year we hear the same emphasis on flood defences & resilience leading to positive actions which of course have benefits BUT we don’t appear to be seeing anything meaningful about reducing overall impact to those actually flooded. General guidance is for victims of flooding to contact their Insurer first (if covered). This can be the beginning of the flood victims nightmare as Insurers will often start a process of procurement led recovery to include inappropriate drying, wholesale stripout leading to extended time out of the property. Such actions do not take into account the significant negative environmental impacts, elevated overall costs, stress & dissatisfaction that such actions result in. We see the Insurers statement of principles on flood insurance about to expire & those at significant risk under threat of not being able to obtain a fair or reasonably priced insurance. This is scandalous as evidence points to the fact that the arguably fraudulent or inappropriate Insurance led re instatement practices has led to an overall elevation of the claim cost by as much as 60% . Apply such a saving to the £100m‘s paid out on major water damage claims annually & one can begin to understand the scale of malpractice & waste. Such savings could be put toward reducing the impact to those at risk or actually flooded & of course to those who‘s Insurance cover is at risk. In short I believe Insurers must shoulder a large part of the blame for the position they now find themselves in & seek Government (taxpayer) involvement. We need to see a change to recovery processes that are based on historic practices that are outdated. YES. I accept things are changing.. but too slowly. Current information does not appear to address the problem on how to improve or regulate the existing agendas of those who would not currently benefit from positive changes. Insurers, to cover their own supplier deficiencies, would have you believe there aren’t enough resources at times of surge – RUBBISH! Also, refer to a recent Plimsoll report on the damage mitigation industry where a large proportion of the listed company’s are suggested to be trading insolvently! It is also pertinent to note that Insurers were & probably still are guilty of working with many insolvent company’s – evidenced by demises such as Rok and more recently Merlin. It appears that little is being done to protect policyholders from such malpractice. Not enough resources! What a blatant rubbish. It’s time that this malpractice by Insurers is exposed & dealt with. Why are severely damaged homes being stripped out to their shells causing significant overall cost uplift, environmental impacts and trauma to the victim

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