Sunday, 6 December 2015

Northumberland Safety and flood Update

I have spent the morning visiting Corbridge and Hexham. The emergency services have done a great job, as have the NCC who ran the Priory School overnight as a respite centre for residents and firemen. Likewise the Environment Agency who have done a great job. The present situation is this: The west of the county has been particularly affected with over 70 properties flooded across the Tyne Valley (including Corbridge, Ovingham, Haydon Bridge, Haltwhistle, Warden and Bellingham) and over 450 homes without power. All key agencies including the key council services, police, fire and rescue and environment agency are all working together.

The rest centre continues to operate at the Priory School in Hexham, with 9 people having been provided with overnight support and a number of people coming through having spent the night with friends and family. NCC have mobilised a county council co-ordinated recovery centre at the village hall in Corbridge which is now open to provide housing, welfare and crisis support from the Red Cross. They are now looking to move to the formal recovery support stage. There have been some bridge closures (which will be reviewed from a safety perspective) and the general clean-up is underway. I spoke at length to the police in Corbridge, and even bumped into the new female Bishop of Newcastle, who had come by to offer support. The bridge is closed to traffic and there is no way through to the south of the river. In Hexham the picture below shows the river nearly 3 feet lower than it was last night. The storage facilities of the boat club, including some boats, and its clubhouse were damaged by the floods and its effects. The key message is that no one has lost their life. If you are driving then do so with great care as there are still plenty of fallen branches, floods, and standing water around. If you are walking then do so with extreme care as the river banks are very dangerous, and potentially still unstable, and animals must be kept on a lead as anything or person who gets in the water will be in mortal danger as the river is very fast and dangerous.