Families lose everything as 'tidal wave' of water floods homes in Somerset

  • Watch the full report on the scale of flooding in Somerset

A "tidal wave" of flood water has left behind a trail of destruction with many families homes now unliveable.

Heavy rain sparked flash flooding in Somerset and Devon on Tuesday 9 March and a major incident was declared by emergency services.

At its worst, roads resembled rivers and the water inside people's homes climbed to waist height.

  • Watch torrents of water flow through Somerset and Devon's streets

Julie Bloom's home in Queen Camel, Somerset, was among the worst hit by flood water.

"We were watching the river and it was coming up slowly but then just all of a sudden it was like a tidal wave," she said. "It just surged, literally everything went.

"It came round all the houses, it was just like rivers flowing from all directions."

'It's carnage'

Around five miles away, in North Cadbury, the bungalow Colin Jeans lives in with his partner and four children has been left covered in a thick layer of mud.

The contents of Colin Jeans life on his lawn of the bungalow he shares with his partner and four children. Credit: ITV News

"One of my neighbours called me and told me my house was flooding," he told ITV News West Country. "I came back in the water was up to the windowsill."

He said the damage is "devastating" and the family will have to essentially start over.

"It's absolutely destroyed," he said. "It's carnage - the mud must have been about an inch thick in places, it's up the walls, in my cupboards. The toys are all gone."

The family's home was left covered in thick mud.

But he praised the community for their efforts.

"We've all pulled together," he said. "It's been really good."

'We've lost everything'

Erica Bloomfield and Jonathan Mitchell live in North Cadbury in a house built for them by Erica‘s parents, who live in Spain.

They have only lived there for two years.

"We’ve lost everything carpets sofas everything in the kitchen, all gone," Jonathan said.

"We’ve just got our foot on the housing ladder only for this to happen.

"We will stay with family tonight but as to the long-term plans, I just don’t know, we’ve got weeks of clearing up to do first."

Erica rushed home from work and couldn’t even open the front door due to the water inside, it was already up to her waist.

Mr Mitchell hit out at a lack of help from Somerset Council.

"There's been no wider help," he said. "It's been the community pulling together to do the big clean-up operation and the authorities just don't want to know."

Erica added: "People say this is the worst the village has seen in decades local farmers have been banned from ditching and dredging so the rainwater has got nowhere to go but flood down our road and into our homes."

The floods have also hit businesses in the area.

Emma Silk opened a community cafe The Old School in Queen Camel in January.

She said the destruction she was met with when she arrived at the site this morning was heartbreaking.

"I came down at about 7.30am to get into the door and I couldn't get in - it was wedged.

"I went around the back and I could see the lino being lifted up. The smell is horrendous - it's not very nice in here at all.

"It was absolutely horrendous," she said. "The water, the smell, the lino's up, all the fridges are down, all the food is ruined - it's heartbreaking."

Councillor Sarah Dyke, who is the lead member for environment and climate change, said: "It's such a difficult time. 

"Flooding experiences like this are really nasty for everybody that's involved.

"We had a really extreme weather condition yesterday. It wasn't predicted, there was no suggestion of those severe floods and we had our teams out as soon as we heard about it."

She added: "I totally understand the frustration from people here and we're doing everything that we can to help people."

The Environment Agency is urging people to sign up to flood alerts and keep an eye on the weather forecast with more rain predicted.

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