Denbighshire floods: 'Ruin and a legacy of misery'

Flooding in St Asaph
People were forced out of their homes with only what they could carry Photo: ITV News Wales

Ian Lang is our North Wales Reporter. He was in St Asaph speaking to many of the families who were evacuated from their homes at dawn on 27 November.

More than two decades ago I watched helplessly as sea water flooded into homes in Towyn. The sea wall had been breached and hundreds of homes went under.

Last month I found myself in St Aspah, witnessing exactly the same thing. This time it was a flooded river. Families panicked as river water trickled and then swept in through their front doors.

Cold, dirty and invasive, it ruined and muddied. Some people were reduced the trying to block doors and vents with bin bags. Bricks, plastic sheeting, indeed anything they could find were used.

If tears of frustration and anguish could have been a flood defence then maybe the water could have been stopped. Of course, nothing worked.

'Maggie' Hughes
91-year-old 'Maggie' Hughes was found dead in her flooded home Credit: Family photograph

Some living in bungalows woke up, got out of bed and put their feet into freezing flood water. All this before sunrise. Daylight revealed the true extent of the disaster. River defences transformed into a waterfall as the usually sedate River Elwy burst its banks.

The cars kept coming down the High Street, drivers not really able to believe what they were seeing. The lucky ones drove through, others simply conked out.

House after house after house went under. Cherished homes, cherished businesses inundated. As always in these circumstances people are in a state of shock. They can't really take it all in.

Thank goodness for the emergency services. But such as the volume of water meant that even they couldn't fight it. Their priority was to help people out of their homes.

High tide came and went and with it the flood waters receded. It left ruin and a legacy of misery that wont go away for a very long time. Insured or uninsured, a flood violates your home. Things are lost that can't be replaced.

The water's a thief, it steals your memories and tramples on your hopes and dreams. I, for one, have seen it happen too often.

Flooding in St Asaph
Flood water inundated St Asaph when the River Elwy overflowed Credit: ITV News Wales