Fishlake flooding: Fears for village as more rain due
Residents of a heavily flooded village in Yorkshire fear conditions could get worse as more rain is forecast.
The Environment Agency has 39 flood warnings in place across the country, including five severe warnings on the River Don in South Yorkshire.
About 400 homes have been flooded in the North, and 1,200 properties have been evacuated, the agency said.
Boris Johnson has called a meeting to discuss the government’s response after criticism from Jeremy Corbyn.
Doncaster Council has called for people to evacuate the village of Fishlake, near Doncaster, saying it “can only offer dedicated support to people who are not in an area where there is a threat to life”.
But farmers say they are unable to leave as they need to care for their livestock.
A yellow warning for rain remains in place over parts of Yorkshire and the East Midlands for Monday, Tuesday and Thursday.
An emergency appeal to support “displaced” families has raised almost GBP50,000.
Four Environment Agency pumps are now in operation in Fishlake to pump out floodwater from the village.
Doncaster Council said it is “still an emergency situation” with five areas in the borough under a severe flood warning, meaning a “significant risk to life”.
The authority said the previous evacuation advice still stands for all areas.
Twelve flood warnings remain in Lincolnshire where more than 1,000 acres have been flooded by Barlings Eau and some farms are cut off.
Jeremy Corbyn has written to Prime Minister Boris Johnson urging him to take greater action over the flooding and criticising him for not declaring a national emergency.
“If this had happened in Surrey, not Yorkshire or the East Midlands, it seems far more likely that a national emergency would have been declared,” he said.
The prime minister said he will chair an emergency Cobra meeting on Tuesday to discuss the government’s response to the flooding.
Pam Webb, who owns a spa in Fishlake, said she bought her property in 2004 and had surveys done at the time.
“There was nothing of any concern raised, Fishlake hadn’t flooded in 100 years,” she said.
“We need to now establish why and how and who should be accountable.
“Is it the flood defences that weren’t sufficient to hold it? Did something give at some other point?”
Ms Webb said she had just found out her insurance would not cover the damage because of a flood exemption on the policy.
“It’s my home and my business,” she said. “I work with a great team of girls and that’s their livelihoods affected and my own as well.”
The village church is collecting food to distribute to residents and roast dinners were delivered on Sunday to those who had remained in their homes.
Empty coffins were seen floating inside the workshop of a flooded funeral parlour in the village.
Tractors and boats have been used to get around the village, with many roads in the area under floodwater.
Military helicopters have been used to help boost flood defences in the area.
Farmer Robert Robinson said: “My whole farm is just covered in water. We’ve animals that are suffering because of the water and we can’t get in and out without tractors.
“We desperately need the River Don to be dredged and cleaned out, it’s there to transport water and it’s not doing its job properly.”
Stephen Gilleard, another farmer from the village, said: “You learn to live with nature and, as a farmer, you deal with things but you can’t deal with this.
“There’s a lot of volume of water here to move, we’ve still not got no pumps in place starting to get rid of any of it, it’s a bad forecast for Thursday, more rain to come, and, unless we move some of this water, there’s no room for any more.”
Adrian Gill, a flood manager with the Environment Agency, said it did not currently dredge the River Don “because we don’t think that’s the right thing to do” but the situation could be reviewed in the future.
Some train lines remain blocked by high water.
Northern said its services into Rotherham Central were not running until further notice, with reduced services between Doncaster and Sheffield. CrossCountry’s trains are being diverted away from Doncaster.
Doncaster Council said a number of roads remained closed.
According to the Salvation Army, some people have been rescued from their homes by boat since the early hours of Saturday, but others remain in their properties.
One woman said she had no insurance to cover the cost of damage to her home in Bentley, near Doncaster, after it flooded over the weekend.
April Wingfield, who had to be rescued from her home by boat, said: “I’m devastated, I’m just going to have to start from scratch.”
She said the situation was worse than in 2007, when 2,200 properties were flooded across Sheffield with damage estimated at GBP400m in the Lower Don Valley alone.
The RSPCA has been involved in a rescue operation to save 60 swans following an oil spillage caused by flooding in Rotherham.
Further south, parts of Derbyshire are still affected by flooding.
Areas around Matlock – where former High Sherriff of Derbyshire Annie Hall was swept to her death by the flooded River Derwent – are continuing their clean-up efforts, with further rain over the weekend leaving standing water along a number of roads.
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