The mental health effects of February’s floods are still being felt in areas of Wales which were struck by the storms

Pentre in the Rhondda valley was hit hard by the flooding in February.

The mental health effects of February’s floods are still being felt in areas of Wales which were struck by the storms.

Homes and businesses in the Rhondda and the Conwy Valley were wrecked after three storms hit Wales in as many weeks.

More than 3,000 properties were affected across the country and, as people sought to rebuild, the country went into lockdown because of the Covid-19 Pandemic.

Wales This Week reported from the flood-hit communities at the time and has returned to consider the human cost.

Nine months down the line many flood victims are suffering from stress and anxiety, having felt the disruption and mental strain of a most terrible year.

Manon Williams, whose home in the picturesque market town of Llanrwst in the Conwy Valley was badly damaged in February, is still living in rented accommodation and fears she might not return home until next spring.

“It’s just been one nightmare after another to be honest,” she said. “It’s been a very stressful time, you know, caused a lot of anxiety. I’ve been sick every morning with it, that’s the only thing that stopped the panic attack. It’s been a very difficult time.”

Floods in Llanrwst caused by Storm Ciara.

Dr David Bailey, chair of the BMA Welsh Council, said: “Flooding is an invasion of your whole life really and it does really seriously impact on people’s moods and who can blame them, frankly. I think that’s a natural response.”

He said his colleagues in the Rhondda Cynon Taf area were saying “an awful lot of people” who were devastated. “There’s been a real problem with trying to deal with all the mental health issues,” he added.

Debate continues about the causes of the floods and Pontypridd councillor Heledd Fychan has been leading calls for an independent inquiry into whether enough was done to prevent them.

“For some it’s very much early days in terms of a recovery and actually I think it’s going to take years for the communities to recover from this and that, of course, is if we don’t get further incidents of flooding,” she said.

In Pentre in the Rhondda water pumps remain in the streets as residents fear further floods this winter.

Canolfan Pentre became a hub for hundreds of distressed families in February and hopes it will not have to face further storms in the months to come.

Centre manager Elizabeth “Buffy” Williams organised a grant application to order more than 170 flood gates for local homes.

And making his own flood defences is something Phil Thomas is considering doing at Twt Lol Brewery in an industrial estate in Treforest.

Overrun by flood water from the Taff in February, Phil can no longer get flood cover on his insurance.

Erecting his own flood barriers is an expense he can barely afford.

“But if I don’t will I be able to sleep when the rain falls? Because I can’t afford for £30,000 £50,000 of damage to happen again."