Filed under: Flooding
Isolated communities in the Welsh Valleys are being targeted in a new campaign to warn those who are most vulnerable to the dangers of flooding. New ways have been thought up to get the message across to the elderly, parents with children under 5 and the socially deprived, who otherwise would not know what to do should a flood occur.
I attended the first of these events, and luckily I evaded having to show off my dance moves; the first event held was a Tea dance. Trehafod, just a few miles North of Pontypridd, has been hit hard by floods in recent years, so was the perfect place for the campaign to begin. Residents in the Rhondda valley are no strangers to what happens when the water level reaches breaking point, and the 30 people or so who took to the dance floor were all too vocal of their experiences.
One flood victim, Alison Dimond who is 61 and lives in Trehaford, had to live for 3 months in her upstairs bedroom after the storm drain overflowed outside her house in December 2007. She lost all of her downstairs furniture and carpets and it was a full four months until things were back to normal. To her distress, there was not a lot of help at hand from the council when it happened, and she found insurance companies sometimes difficult to deal with.
As part of my journalism studies, I produced this link and clip on the event for broadcast on the radio.
Tito Lopez, who you’ve just heard, is a Flood Risk Officer for the Environment Agency. He reckons getting the message across is much easier when they work together with existing events which are already popular. This way they can ensure people are going to turn up; and the popularity of the Tea dance obviously proves this.
He said events like these are always a success even if only a few people sign up to the flood warning service that the Environment Agency provides. After a scramble for the free flood kit bags, clockwork torches and key rings, it seems that most people went home with a better idea of how to be prepared for high water levels as we head into the winter months.
That said, there were maybe a few scoundrels who had turned up to take advantage of the free tea and cakes!
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