Welsh Green Dragon

Environment Agency Wales foxtrots through floods by Chris Halpin
October 30, 2009, 7:05 pm
Filed under: Flooding

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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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The Trehafod Tea Dance was a successful community engagement event for us in Environment Agency Wales. It proved the validity of working in partnership with community organisations in the planning and delivery of Flood Awareness raising events. We thank the Cymmer Communities First team who were instrumental in supporting our campaign and in putting this event together. A special thank you to all the community residents who attended. We hope the music, dancing, teas and cakes were enjoyed by all and that each who attended walked away aware of the local risks of flooding and various actions they can take themselves to plan and prepare for flooding.

– Find out if you are at risk from flooding by calling Floodline 0845 988 1188 or by visiting our online Flood Maps at: http://www.environment-agency.gov.uk/homeandleisure/floods/default.aspx

– If you are at risk from flooding, Environment Agency Wales offer Floodline Warnings Direct. This free flood warning service provides early notice of possible flooding via phone (home or mobile), text message, email, fax or pager. Please call Floodline 0845 988 1188 to register to this free and important service.

Start preparing today before a flood happens.

If you live in a flood risk area do what you can now to prepare for a flood. Don’t wait until it happens, you may not have time.

The following actions will help you to be prepared.

1. Check your insurance cover – ensure it covers flood damage.
2. Know how to turn off your gas, electricity and water mains supplies.
3. Prepare an ‘Emergency Flood Kit’ of essential items such as a torch and wind up radio.
4. Agree where you will go and how to contact each other.
5. Think about what you can move to a safe place now (for example photo albums, family videos and treasured mementos/possessions).
6. Think about what you would want to move to safety during a flood (for example pets, cars and furniture).
7. Create a list of important contact numbers including Floodline 0845 988 1188.

If you have any questions regarding your own flood risk, how to plan for flooding or if you have any information on community activities which we may be able to get involved in to raise awareness of flooding, please contact me at the address or email below.

Thanks for your help in raising awareness of flooding Chris! Best of luck to you.

Tito Lopez
Flood Incident Management
Environment Agency Wales
Rivers House, St. Mellons Business Park
Cardiff, CF3 0EY
Be Prepared for Flooding.

Comment by Tito Lopez

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