Thursday, November 18, 2010

Opruimen begint in Cornwall... ( bbc)

Flood-hit Cornwall residents prepare for clean-up

A massive clean up operation is under way in Cornwall after severe flooding resulted in more than 100 homes being evacuated in the county.

Torrential rain overnight from Tuesday into Wednesday led to some properties being left under 3ft (1m) of mud.

More rain overnight led to flood warnings and watches remaining in place on a number of rivers.

Residents, firms and council staff are assessing the damage as they remove mud and water from premises and streets.

St Blazey, St Austell, Mevagissey and Lostwithiel were the worst hit areas on Wednesday as people were trapped in their cars and homes by the rising floodwaters, which reached up to 6ft (2m) deep in places.

There were no reports of serious injuries but scores of residents were evacuated from their homes, schools had to close and the county's transport network was hugely disrupted.

The Environment Agency said dry weather during the afternoon had reduced the risk of more flooding but said heavy localised showers overnight could raise the risk again.

Continue reading the main story
The Eden Project will be closed for at least a week

Flooding in Cornwall
A spokesman said: "This rainfall will fall on already saturated ground resulting in a risk of further flooding in Cornwall.

"The Environment Agency is monitoring the situation closely. Our teams are on the ground clearing debris from rivers and grates, checking flood defences and assisting emergency services.

"The Met Office predicts a mix of sunshine and showers throughout Thursday and Friday, leading to a low risk of flooding."

The flood warning for the River Fowey in Cornwall, from Trekeivesteps to Lostwithiel, remained in place early on Thursday.

A 700-year-old bridge over the river in Lostwithiel remained closed to both traffic and pedestrians as engineers prepared to examine it for damage caused by debris.

They feared the high tide at 0300 GMT could cause more debris to be swept into the bridge and that it could collapse.

Main trunk roads in Cornwall were closed for hours and 25 vehicles had to be recovered from floodwater.

Train services in and out of the county were affected by landslides, with the mainline track between Penzance and London Paddington closed for several hours on Wednesday.

The Newquay to Par branch line remained closed after a storage tanker was washed down on to the railway track and a landslip caused subsidence under the lines.

National Rail Enquiries said buses would replace trains until early next week.

Cornwall Council set up an emergency shelter at Polkyth Leisure Centre in St Austell, where 200 blankets and 200 groundsheets were donated by local charity ShelterBox.

The international aid charity specialises in delivering aid to crisis-hit places overseas but sent blankets to the emergency shelter in Polkyth, the first time it had assisted people in its home county.

Schools around the county did not open and the Eden Project, which was hit by 3ft (1m) of floodwater in places, said it was expecting to be closed for at least a week.

Police said there had been no reports of serious injuries.

Cornwall Council Leader Alec Robertson said he had spoken to the prime minister on the telephone and said he had expressed his sympathy and offered government help.

Mr Robertson said: "This was a very serious incident and our thoughts are with everyone who has been affected by the flooding.

"It is important to pay tribute to all those people who helped their neighbours - this was a real example of communities working together to support each other."

On Wednesday evening Cornwall Council held a series of public meetings in Lostwithiel, St Blazey and Mevagissey to provide residents and councillors with the latest information and to offer support and advice.

They were attended by representatives from organisations dealing with the aftermath of the flooding, including the police, council highways, fire and rescue and health workers.