Coronavirus lockdown means flood victims are yet to return to homes

PUBLISHED: 15:36 24 March 2020 | UPDATED: 15:37 24 March 2020

Prime Minister Boris Johnson surveys flood defences in Bewdley in Worcestershire on a visit to see recovery efforts following recent flooding in the Severn valley and across the UK. Photograph: PETER NICHOLLS/PA.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson surveys flood defences in Bewdley in Worcestershire on a visit to see recovery efforts following recent flooding in the Severn valley and across the UK. Photograph: PETER NICHOLLS/PA.

PA Wire/PA Images

Flood-affected residents could spend weeks in lockdown in caravans and hotel rooms as the coronavirus lockdown delays their return home.

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Around 100 homes in Snaith and East Cowick in East Yorkshire were inundated after the River Aire burst its banks and spilled out of its normal washlands at the end of February.

And families who were forced out of their homes by the water could now face an even longer wait before they are able to repair their properties.

But the Rev Eleanor Robertshaw, the vicar in Snaith, said the community spirit, which saw teams of volunteers sorting food donations and filling and distributing sandbags during the flooding, was continuing during the coronavirus outbreak.

Rev Robertshaw, who has been a vicar in the parish for six-and-a-half years, told the PA news agency: “People yesterday were still collecting stuff to try to clear up their houses and I expect that’s got to be put on hold now, it will delay them getting back in.

“Anywhere the water came in, those people have not returned to their homes. They’re in rented accommodation, caravans or in hotels.

“Those in the hotels, they were all eating in the restaurants that were attached to the hotels but those restaurants are shut now and they have no cooking facilities in the rooms so I don’t know how they’re going to manage that.

“I know someone who is in a caravan with three children. Obviously, they can get out in the garden but it must be so hard.”

She added: “What else can be thrown at the place? It just seems so hard to have to deal with two things on the trot, really.”


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She said the coronavirus pandemic also meant that businesses in the town - who had already been closed for weeks since the flooding - would suffer even more than those elsewhere.

But she said the flooding had given the community an advantage as they were already prepared to help those in need.

She said: “It’s like we have seamlessly moved from crisis number one to crisis number two.

“The people who have been volunteering to help during the flooding have set up a community group offering help to those who need essentials.

“And while, obviously, we wouldn’t have wanted the flooding to happen, it gave us an advantage to be ready for this as we already had things in place to help people in that sense.

“It made us a more coherent place to be. It’s a wonderful place.”

Earlier this month Boris Johnson was branded a “traitor” by one local resident after a delayed response to visiting flood victims in Worcestershire.

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