Seeing the rain pouring down outside my window again this morning really gives me pause for thought after watching what can best be described as disaster videos on TV last night.
The flooding across England over the past three days, with swathes of central and southern counties under meters of water, surely qualifies as a catastrophe on a grand scale.
You do have a feeling of bewilderment that a disaster like this can be happening in this country.
While it may not be comparable with Hurricane Katrina or the deluges in other countries that happen regularly, it’s a catastrophe nevertheless when you see thousands of people stranded, countless numbers of homes and business properties ruined by continuing floodwater, thousands without water (the irony!) or electricity, and the military called in for search and rescue.
Take a look at this BBC News video report broadcast last night about Gloucestershire and Worcestershire to get an idea.
- 150,000 homes are without water in Gloucestershire after a treatment works was flooded.
- About 43,000 homes have also lost power after an electricity substation in Gloucester was closed after flooding. Peter Bungard from Gloucestershire County Council told BBC Five Live about 300,000 people had been affected by the loss of supply and the county faced a “lot of challenges.”
- Water levels in the River Severn at Gloucester are running at a height of 34ft (10.4m). Flood defences are 35ft (10.7m).
- Some 70,000 residents of Tewkesbury in Gloucestershire have been cut off, with roads in and out of the town impassable.
- The Association of British Insurers has said the total bill for the June and July floods could reach £2bn.
If that’s not a disaster, I don’t know what is.
All of this is just the worst affected areas from the rains of the past few days. We had torrential rain here (Wokingham in Berkshire) for most of Friday. The Emmbrook, which runs about 200 meters from our house, burst its banks and the road was a lake for much of the day. Closed, of course.
You can really feel the pain of people when someone you know is caught up in this. I do know someone – Hugh MacLeod whose flat in London was flooded out on Friday. I saw Hugh just 24 hours earlier, at the Moo party. Luckily for Hugh, the damage isn’t long lasting, unlike those poor souls elsewhere.