The Welsh village still clearing up four months after Storm Dennis

Video report by ITV Wales reporter Mike Griffiths


Residents of a village in Neath Port Talbot have begun a community clear-up four months after their homes and surrounding areas were devastated by Storm Dennis.

Severe flooding hit parts of Wales during the storm in February, with hundreds of homes flooded and families forced to evacuate.

But in the village of Aberdulais, much of the debris and damage left behind is yet to be cleared.

Welsh Hollywood star Michael Sheen visited the village on Thursday as residents started to clear up some of the damage.

He said two thirds of people living in the Canal Side area of Aberdulais are still not able to return to their homes.

Around thirty homes in Canal Side, Aberdulais, were badly flooded with most residents being evacuated. Credit: Joolz Stewart

Newport-born actor Sheen has been praised for his support of Welsh communities struck by Storms Ciara and Dennis after setting up a donation page which raised almost £88,000.

He described how he watched in horror as people he knew were affected by the flooding.

"Seeing people being evacuated from their homes and how much it was affecting people I thought I want to do something to help if I possibly can.

"Storm Dennis was a while ago. There were a lot of promises made to make sure this couldn't happen again, and nothing has been done really."

Joolz Stewart, whose Canal Side home was flooded, said the community feels "forgotten" and "let down".

"Without [Michael Sheen], I don't think anyone would listen," she said.

"He may be famous but he's an ordinary Welshman who genuinely cares about Welsh communities."

Mrs Stewart had also just opened a purpose-built cabin to provide care for patients with life-limiting illnesses, which was also badly flooded.

The residents are terrified that this is going to happen all over again because defensive measures haven't been put in place.

Michael Sheen
The heavy rain brought by Storm Dennis caused Aberdulais Aqueduct to overflow. Credit: Joolz Stewart

Sheen said residents want provisions put in place by officials to avoid future flooding.

"The residents are here having to do it themselves. They're worried about the debris. We've got veterans saying they'll bring their army expertise in to try and help clear stuff," he said.

"It seems that there are multiple agencies that should be involved in helping the residents here, but everyone seems to be passing the buck as far as the residents are concerned.

"The residents want to see greater collaboration between the agencies, a proper plan put in place, and transparency and communication with the residents themselves."

Much of the Aberdulais Aqueduct was destroyed by the floods. Credit: ITV Cymru Wales

Martyn Evans, Natural Resources Wales' head of operations for the south west said: "There have been some unfortunate delays because of Covid-19, things out of our control, but we are able now to do the removal of the gravel, 300-400 tons of that.

"We've also been out to inspect the flood asset here as well, because we did that within a month of the recent storms in March/April.

"We've been beavering away in the background and we do have a few things that we want to update the community on, so I look forward to that."