Residents tell stories of devastation following record floods in Solihull - The Solihull Observer

Residents tell stories of devastation following record floods in Solihull

Solihull Editorial 27th Jun, 2018 Updated: 28th Jun, 2018   0

WHEN a month’s worth of rain fell in just one hour into Solihull homes, some of the most vulnerable residents were left devastated.

Some are angry with the authorities over a perceived lack of flood defences.

Others face being evacuated from their homes for up to six months.

Frontline support workers with Age UK Solihull said elderly residents were ‘crying their eyes out’ after losing their homes of many decades and, in some cases, all their possessions.

Those workers and volunteers sprung into action to get people the help they needed, find temporary accommodation, deal with insurance and begin the process of rebuilding homes.

Pensioner Pauline Down says she is struggling to cope after her house was heavily damaged.

Pauline, who lives in an old blacksmith’s cottage, is waiting for work to be undertaken on her house to prevent mould and dampness, remove asbestos and replace possessions.

She said: “I am just really fed up. Its a lot worse than the others I have had.

“I was lying down practically asleep and I could hear the rain beating down on the conservatory.

“And then the water started coming under the door and I had to get myself and the dog out.

“Till nine o’clock that night I was wading through water.”

Her kitchen was very badly affected and her downstairs is barely recognisable with no skirting boards, carpets or wallpaper.

She said: “I hope to get my house back to the way it was again.

“I am very grateful for the help. I wouldn’t manage on my own – I start shaking and I can’t do anything.”

She said she is always worried about floods when it rains.

She added: “I think the drain outside my house is not deep enough.

“I always have to put my valuable things high up in the air or leave things upstairs. I am always ready for a flood.

“I have lost a lot and it’s going to take a long time to get it back again.”

She says, despite all the work her house requires, she will not leave her home.

She said: “It’s hard to leave the house but its very lonely and when you live alone these things are a lot worse.

“I just have to cope with it. I know what will happen if I don’t – I shall go under.

“So I’ve got to keep strong.”

According to Age UK Solihull chiefs, there is a great deal of anger among residents about the floods and why they occurred.

But they praised the joint effort between the voluntary sector and Solihull Council.

The charity sent out staff in the aftermath of the flooding caused by heavy storms on May 27.

Staff were posted in the worst affected areas in Nethercote Gardens, Tidbury Green and Dickens Heath.

They visited the 80 most endangered households of which 12 still require constant support.

Age UK’s Winter Warmth co-ordinator, Teresa Mosedale, said: “It was awful for them. There were people crying their eyes out because they have lived in properties for long periods of time – some as long as 50 years.

“Some who had built homes with their partners and all of a sudden, one afternoon, the water comes in and destroys everything they have built. Its very, very sad.

“Some of these people had never had a flood and just didn’t have a clue where to start.”

Support teams dealt with issues including finding alternative accommodation, problems with white goods – including fridges and washing machines – and furniture, gas and electrical problems.

The charity also revealed some households will be forced to leave their homes for between three and nine months while restructuring takes place – according to loss adjustment companies.

Lucy Garratt, head of services at Age UK, said: “Unfortunately there have been many people displaced into temporary accommodation including hotels and with family.

“And, from the residents reactions at local parish meetings, we can see there is a great deal of anger over the floods and why they happened.”

The most pressing issue for staff was getting homes dehumidifiers, managing insurance claims and providing emotional support, said Ms Mosedale.

She said: “Insurance claims or getting insurance is a very long winded process.

“If you haven’t got insurance, that’s the dreadful thing because you have lost all of your possessions – some people lost everything.”

Coun Dicicco, cabinet member for environment and housing, says the council spends over £100,000 on flood defences every year.

He said: “We continue to work closely with the Environment Agency and other organisations to investigate the causes of the flooding, the findings of which will be presented in due course as part of a S19 report under the Flood and Water Management Act.”

Online Editions

Catch up on your local news by reading our e-editions on the Solihull Observer.

Public Notices

View and download all of the public notices in the Solihull Observer.

Business Directory

From plumbers, to restaurants, we can provide you with all the info you need.


Advertise with the Solihull Observer to reach your audience