From the 1953 floods to today

200x160_flooded_street_main (1)Amidst all the terrible weather the recent 60th anniversary of the 1953 floods passed without much comment.

Yet on the night of 4 February 1953, a huge storm surge struck the east coast. In places the sea came 2 miles inland. 307 people were killed, including many families who died in their homes.

There was no warning and it was Britain’s worst peacetime disaster.

One of the most famous rescues was of a Miss Fowler, aged 84, of Canvey Island, Essex, with her 82 year old brother. You can see a photo of them here  but they had to spend nearly 4 days without food, light or heat before help finally arrived.

Today, this is the situation we most fear at Age UK: frail older people marooned in flooded homes, accidentally overlooked and left to suffer alone. However, so far it seems that vulnerable older people have been identified and offered the emergency relief they need, and in a timely fashion. Thank goodness.

Continue reading “From the 1953 floods to today”

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. Continue reading “Prepare for the flood”