Flooded communities begin to recover their homes and businesses

Thousands of residents have been displaced by Storm Desmond, but now the clean-up process begins as people across the region start to salvage their homes and businesses.

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Celebration as Pooley Bridge opens

The first crowds cross the new Pooley Bridge Credit: ITV News Border

The temporary bridge in place of the one that was washed away during December's storms in Pooley Bridge is now open to traffic.

It was blessed by the Bishop of Penrith before the crowds delighted in being able to walk and drive to the other side of the village without a lengthy diversion.

It's been a day of celebration in the sun as the bridge is now ready for Easter tourists, to the joy of local businesses.

The new bridge ahead of the official opening Credit: ITV News Border

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Pooley Bridge set to reopen

The temporary bridge has been finished a week ahead of schedule Credit: ITV News Border

A new temporary bridge is set to open in Pooley Bridge today, reconnecting the village, which has suffered from lack of trade since its historic bridge collapsed during the floods.

Storm Desmond damaged dozens of bridges across Cumbria but the loss of Pooley Bridge was particularly dramatic.

The village, on the northern tip of Ullswater, is rural and relies heavily on tourism, sparking a campaign to get the bridge back by Easter.

The temporary bridge has been completed a week ahead of schedule and a programme of celebrations is planned for the whole day.

Penrith Town Band will play from 11.45am, ahead of welcome speeches and a blessing from the Bishop of Penrith. The first cars will be allowed over at 12.25pm.

The bridge will need to be replaced by a similar listed structure but it's not known when that will happen.

The collapse of Pooley Bridge was one of the most dramatic moments of the floods Credit: ITV News Border

Floods Minister 'shocked' by December's floods

Floods Minister Rory Stewart MP has admitted that his department and other government agencies were shocked by the level of rainfall in December's floods.

The MP for Penrith and the Border has said the Met Office's records were smashed by Storm Desmond.

He also believes that despite a commonly held view that the dredging of rivers is a solution to the flooding problem the reality is very different.

Flood-stricken residents given advice on how to protect their homes in the future

Credit: ITV Border

Hundreds of people who've been affected by flooding in Cumbria have been getting advice about what they can do to protect their homes in future.

The event, in Keswick, was organised by the National Flood Forum and the local flood action group. People were able to look at a range of defence measures including flood gates and pumps.

You're trying to make decisions which are big ones and can have an impact on your life for years to come so you need as much advice as you possibly can from independent people so you can get the job done properly.

– Lynne Jones, Chair of Keswick Flood Action Group

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