Communities rally to rescue homes from flood damage

Possessions in the street
People living in the villages around Aberystwyth have a lot of their possessions in the street Photo: ITV News Wales

Firefighters are still pumping water out of areas badly affected by floods over the weekend in Ceredigion, as the scale of the destruction to homes and possessions is realised.

Flood water ravaged the Aberystwyth area on Saturday morning, after more than a month's rainfall fell in 24 hours. Around 150 people needed to be rescued, and close to 1000 were evacuated from holiday parks and homes as a precautionary measure. The damage that has been done to property is very real, though.

A cutlery drawer filled with dirty flood water
A cutlery drawer filled with dirty water shows the extent of the floods in communities near Aberystwyth Credit: ITV News Wales

Three flood alerts remain in place for the area. Environment Agency Wales says that it's likely that a further band of rainfall will hit the area, which could disrupt clean-up efforts.

Questions have begun to be asked over how and why such widespread flooding was able to occur, and whether more could have been done to prevent the enormous destruction and danger to life. Chris Mills from Environment Agency Wales told our Correspondent Carl Edwards that appropriate warnings were put out, and "we need to accept that flooding is something that is going to happen" with such extreme amounts of rainfall, but the priority is always reducing risk.

The Environment Minister, John Griffiths AM, has pledged that lessons will be learned from this weekend, but the focus currently is on continuing to support local communities deal with the aftermath of the flooding.

Attention is now turning to the cost of repairs and replacements for property ruined by flood water on holiday parks and in local homes. Malcolm Tarling, from the Association of British Insurers, says that flood damage is hugely expensive, with the average claim between £20,000 and £40,000.

Local people are being advised not to take risks around the high levels of water that remain in some places, and to be careful with their household appliances.

Lots of sewers and indeed gas and water supplies may have been damaged – my advice to anyone entering their properties today, is to take sensible precautions. Make sure your gas and electricity are checked, preferably turned off and checked by qualified persons before you use them. Please do not go near the water, it is still extremely dangerous. We would also warn drivers not to attempt to drive through flooded areas as they may become stranded and require rescuing.

– Andy Francis, Area Manager, Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service