Recovery work continues after Somerset communities are hit by flash flooding.
Somerset Council teams remain on the ground supporting communities hit by flash flooding earlier this week (Tuesday 9 May).
Council officers are continuing to identify and provide immediate support to residents and businesses who are affected, and the council wishes to hear from anyone who hasn’t yet made contact. Please phone 0300 123 2224 and choose option 1 during office hours, and the same number and option 4 out of hours.
Among the affected areas are Queen Camel, Milverton, Galhampton, North Cadbury, Yarlington, Bridghampton, Podimore and West Camel, with at least 60 homes and businesses hit by flooding. However, during the visits so far it has become clear a wider area has been impacted.
The immediate response was led by emergency services with support from Somerset Council teams, voluntary agencies and other partners. Since then, council teams have been supporting communities with Highways and Street Scene teams clearing flooded roads, silt, mud and debris and assessing any damage to the carriageway.
Cllr Sarah Dyke, Lead Member for the Environment and Climate Change said:
“This was a truly shocking event – extraordinary levels of rain in a short space of time leading to torrents of water hitting communities. My heart goes out to all those affected.
“We will continue to provide all the support we can – please get in touch if you’ve been affected and haven’t yet made contact.
“I want to thank emergency services for their swift response, and the fantastic efforts of the voluntary agencies and our own officers and partner agencies for the work they’re doing to support communities.”
Key works completed by highways teams so far include:
- Emergency gully emptying and jetting
- Initial assessments of damage and some repairs have commenced
- A359 in Queen Camel was closed due to bridge safety concerns – this has reopened on Wednesday (11 May) following safety inspections.
- Sweeping roads across the area
This work is ongoing.
Although we have been working over the last 24 hours to identify affected residents there may be people who we haven’t reached. If you are aware of anyone who needs support please advise them to phone 0300 123 2224 and choose option 1 during office hours, same number and option 4 out of hours.
Key flooding information
It’s vital to prepare for wet conditions if you have to travel and to proceed with extreme caution if you get caught in flood conditions – you can find information and advice here: Adverse weather conditions (somersetroadsafety.org)
If you spot a problem with a drain or gully, or any issue on the highway you can report it easily and quickly here Report a problem on the road – Somerset Council
Looking after yourself and mental health
Floodwater can contain hidden dangers such as uncovered manholes or obstacles – so never enter floodwater.
We know that heavy rain fall may trigger feelings of anxiety, fear or worry, particularly for those who have been previously affected by flooding.
Here are some things you can do to help reduce any feelings of anxiety caused by heavy rainfall and the activation of local flood defences:
- Talk to somebody about how you are feeling, if you don’t feel able to talk to friends or family you can phone Mindline – Somerset’s emotional support and mental health helpline which is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week: 01823 276 892 (local) 0800 138 1692 (freephone)
- Try and do activities that help you to feel less stressed like exercising, reading, listening to music or meditating
- Help neighbours and others in your community, look out for each other
- Follow your normal routine as much as possible
- Visit the Every Mind Matters website where you can find lots of tips and exercises to help manage anxiety
- Stay up-to-date on weather information and warnings. If you’re aware of the latest information, you may gain a sense of control over the situation. Check for flooding – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
What to do during a flood
There is information to help you on what to do during a flood on the Somerset Prepared website. The key point is to always stay safe, in an immediate flood emergency or where there is a risk to life, follow the advice of the emergency services.
What to do after a flood
Following a flood there will be hazards revealed as the water clears, consider the following as you recover from the impacts of an incident.
- Assume floodwater has been contaminated with sewage and avoid contact wherever possible. For further health advice when dealing with flood affected areas visit Public Health England
- It’s important to stop harmful germs that might be present in floodwater from spreading to food. For advice on cleaning preparation areas after a flood visit the Food Standards Agency
- Flooding presents a number of hazards to utilities in the home. Follow electric safety advice before switching back on
- Contact your insurer if you haven’t already, and let them know the situation. They will advise you of the next steps to take in restoring your home and belongings.
- Reporting when your property has flooded helps the Council investigate why the flood has occurred and look for possible methods to mitigate the risk of it happening again in the future
- Use the SWIM website to update your flood record/record recent flooding
You can also Request a bulky waste collections here.
What can I do to prepare for flooding?
Thinking ahead and preparing for what the weather may bring can make a real difference in your home, business and community.
One of the first things is to check is whether your property is at risk of flooding.
We also recommend taking precautionary measures and purchasing your own sandbags in case of flooding emergencies. If sandbags are not available, you can use:
- rolled-up mats or carpets
- bags of garden compost
- pillow cases filled with soil (don’t overfill them)
- timber boards (possibly screwed to door frames and sealed with mastic)
Protect yourself from future flooding
It is advisable to plan how you’ll respond to a flood. Information and plans are available to help you plan ahead.
We also encourage you to download the ‘Prepare. Act. Survive.’ flood plan to help reduce the impact of flooding.
You can find up to date information on flood warnings by visiting the flood warnings page on the Government’s website.