Boris Johnson has not visited flood impacted communities since Storm Dennis struck
Boris Johnson has still not visited victims of flooding ten days after storms and torrential downpours have left businesses and homeowners devastated throughout the country.
Flood-hit families have lashed out at the government for its response to the severe weather conditions that have blitzed the country, and criticised the PM for his no-show in areas such as Yorkshire, South Wales and the South West, who have been battling the deluge.
Storm Dennis hit on Saturday February 15, causing transport chaos as high-winds cancelled flights and rain lashed the sodden ground.
Just 12 hours later, and after torrential downpours overnight, various parts of the country were flooded, and 10 days later have still not been visited by Mr Johnson.
Anger has been growing over the way the government has reacted since the bad weather first started three weeks ago when communities in Yorkshire were flooded after Storm Ciara, in scenes reminiscent from Boxing Day 2015.
Today Mr Johnson hosted Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz at Downing Street as one of the hardest hit areas in the country, Shrewsbury slammed him for not visiting the flood-stricken area.
A woman looks out at flooding around a property in Ironbridge, Shropshire, today which has sandbags by the door
Mike Evans, of Evans Carpets, said he had been told that the council had run out of sandbags. ‘We’ve had nothing – no help or assistance whatsoever. We haven’t seen anyone from the council or the Environment Agency,’ he said.
Mark Davies, 59, who runs Darwin’s Townhouse B&B in Shrewsbury, said he had suffered thousands of pounds of damage and had been unable to obtain insurance.
Asked about the Prime Minister’s absence in the crisis, he said: ‘Boris Johnson should make some sort of nod to acknowledge all the devastation.’
No 10 yesterday defended Mr Johnson’s absence from flooded areas, saying it was important not to ‘distract’ attention from the relief effort, and that Environment Secretary George Eustice was ‘rightly’ leading the Government’s response.
Last week Downing Street confirmed the PM would not be visiting flood-affected areas, while he stayed at the Chevening estate near Sevenoaks with girlfriend Carrie Symonds.
But David Bickle, 57, whose ground-floor flat in Shrewsbury was under a foot of water last night, criticised the Prime Minister’s excuses, saying: ‘What relief effort? There is no one helping us for him to disturb.’
Flooding at the Riverside Caravan Park in Bridgnorth, Shropshire, today as the River Severn hits a record high level
Temporary flood barriers installed in Ironbridge, Shropshire, today, as there are fears that the river could breach them
Thousands of residents living near the Severn have been warned to expect yet more flooding, with a 100-mile stretch of the river now issued with flood warnings
Shropshire Council insisted last night that it has not run out of sandbags. A spokesman said: ‘Any residents or businesses requiring sandbags are asked to contact the council and we will supply them.’
Anger has been growing at the Prime Minister’s no-show in areas that have suffered three successive weekends of horrendous weather caused by Storm Ciara and Storm Dennis.
Houses in Powys village of Crickhowell were submerged in water after the River Usk burst its banks. And a major incident was declared after a terrifying landslide in Tylorstown, Rhondda Cynon Taf.
York and the Cambridgeshire market town of St Ives were also nearly entirely flooded from the River Ouse, after Storm Dennis struck.
The River Wye was the highest it had ever been, causing more havoc in Herefordshire.
Families in south Wales – an area particularly badly affected by the huge amounts of rain fall – lambasted the government for its failure to act.
Museum worker Robin Williams, 62, from Pontypridd said: ‘Where’s Boris? Where’s the help?’
Robin and wife Tracey 55, had moved into their home just one year ago and claims they have not received any help with their flooded property.
Furious locals hit by extreme floods have slammed have vented their anger after Boris Johnson after it was revealed he had no plans to visit areas worst affected by Storm Dennis . Shirley Collyer, 83, is pictured as she is evacuated from her home in Hereford on Monday
Flood water surrounds the bowling club after the River Taff burst its banks in Taffs Wells, north of Cardiff in south Wales this morning
Tracey, who works in a care home, said: ‘We haven’t long been here and a lot of our stuff was new. I asked the council for sandbags but they said you have to wait until the water is coming in, which it was.
‘We haven’t had any help and nobody has been here from the council. They are out of their depth.
‘It was a freak flood and there was nothing put in place to stop it.’
Tracey Waites, 49, also of Pontypridd, added: ‘We haven’t seen anyone. There are no politicians down here helping. Where are they?
‘We haven’t seen anyone from the government or anyone from the council. We’ve heard nothing from anyone.’
Tracey Waits, and husband Marc, 52, described how they were desperately trying to get their belongings upstairs when the flood hit.
Marc said: ‘Luckily our daughter was awake when it started happening and she alerted us.
More than 550 flood warnings are still in place – including five with ‘danger to life’. People bail water out of flooded homes after the River Wye burst its banks in Ross-on-Wye
‘We’ve just been trying to sort out our insurance as we couldn’t get hold of anyone on the weekend.
‘We were watching a car bobbing around in the water outside and thought it might come through our front wall. Our car has been towed away as it was caught up in all the water.’
Tracey said: ‘When the water was coming in we started passing our belongings to each other up the stairs.
‘We managed to save my daughter’s school coursework and some photos because they can’t be replaced. It’s so awful and I can’t believe it’s happened.’
Colin, 78, went outside to try and poke through the drain but flood water was bursting up through it.
Social media user Craig Bloodworth tweeted out pictures of the flooding that has hit York after water levels rose in the River Ouse
A man looks out from his window as the waters of the River Ouse passing through York breach the river banks causing flooding in York on February 11
He said: ‘The water was coming up the path so I tried to poke the drain to clear it.
‘I realised the water was coming up through the drain and then it all came in through the front and back of our house.’
Speaking through tears, he added: ‘We saved very little in fact. It’s going to take a long time to get this sorted out.
In the Calder Valley in Yorkshire, local authorities have called for their region to be given the same extra funding as London does to tackle terrorism so they have the best chance of limiting flood damage.
Roy James, a cafe owner in Tenbury Wells in Worcestershire, told Sky News: ‘We are a little frustrated because we think surely the government have had 13 years to talk about this which you would imagine would be plenty but seemingly not.
‘So we are hoping that this time Mr Johnson and his crew will come and do something, do something for us, help us.’
Flood victims start the big clean up after Storm Ciara. Houses and shops have had to be evacuated in February
Towns in the Pennines and Yorkshire Dales that have endured years of relentless flooding and were under water again just a week prior to flooding in South Wales.
The West Yorkshire towns of Todmorden, Mytholmroyd, Hebden and Sowerby Bridge have been among the worst hit, with the streets transformed into canals, cars submerged and shops floors and front rooms covered in muddy water.
Locals in drenched villages like Mytholmroyd, near Halifax in West Yorkshire, have demanded answers, after the area suffered a previous round of severe flooding on Boxing Day in 2011.
After the December 2015 floods, a £30 million flood prevention scheme was begun in Mytholmroyd, which is due for completion in the summer.
Many locals cleaning up from the carnage expressed anger that not more had been done to help them bolster flood defences.
Michael Green, whose fish and chip shop van was damaged in the floods, said ‘action must be taken’ when asked about the controversial flood defences.
Incomplete flood defences in Mytholmroyd near Halifax, West Yorkshire. Residents and businesses were involved in the clean up on February 10 after Storm Ciara
The 38-year-old added: ‘What’s so frustrating is that we have seen this all before back in 2015.
‘Back then there were flood defences in place but there were big massive gaps and the water got through.
‘After that we were assured that it would never happen again but here we are now, dealing with damage caused by another flood.
‘The flood warning came late and the defences just weren’t up to scratch, they’re an absolute joke. It’s not good enough.
‘This is devastating for all of us who are affected but all we can do now is move on and deal with it.
‘I hope this is the last time but sadly most of us have lost faith that we’ll be protected from flooding.’
Mr Green, who opened Plenty of Fish and Chips three years ago, purposefully put his van on wheels so it could be moved in the event of flooding.
However, when he attempted to move it after hearing the flood warning he was unable to leave his home in nearby Hebden Bridge because of a fallen tree.
He said: ‘I managed to get here on Sunday evening and the van was under four foot of water.
‘I’ve had to throw away £2,500 worth of stock and a couple of fridges and I probably won’t open again for another week. Business has been hit hard.’
Mortgage broker Julie Clayton, who runs a mortgage and insurance services firm in Mytholmroyd, said she is ‘furious’ the flood defences failed.
She said: ‘This is the third time we have flooded since 2012, which is just outrageous.
‘After the last time we were told all the right things and we thought we would never flood again, we were delighted.
‘Work on the flood defences should have been finished last autumn, and if they had been then we probably wouldn’t be in this situation now. But here we are flooded again, it’s infuriating.
‘The sad thing is that we have got used to it, it’s part of our lives now.’
She added: ‘We’ve all got businesses to run and things can’t just stop.
‘So we’re working to make sure our clients are happy while dealing with this awful flood damage.
‘It’s a difficult time but we just have to roll our sleeves up and get on with it.’
Sue Slater, whose hairdressing business is in the most affected part of the village, says she was prepared for the flooding after suffering significant damage in 2015.
The 59-year-old said: ‘I was here the last time we flooded and my business was almost completely destroyed, I was out of the building for nine months.
‘After that happened I made sure the place was as well prepared for a flood as it possibly could be.
‘The flooring is tile and the walls are covered in waterproof paint, which meant that when we got here we could use a power hose to clean everything.
‘All of our furniture is made from metal so it can be wiped down and the plug sockets are four foot from the ground so they didn’t get damaged.
‘The insurance won’t cover us for flooding so I had to do everything possible to insure myself.
‘I even put a sum of money aside every month to prepare for an event like this.
‘If I hadn’t done all that then I’d be out of a livelihood today, but as it is I’m hoping to be open for business on Friday.’
Roger Benn, who runs a travel agents, was trapped on the first floor of his business when the flooding hit on Sunday.
The 69-year-old said: ‘It was really frightening because I was upstairs and the water just kept getting higher and higher.
‘I was in the same position in 2015 and the water got all the way to the top of the stairs then, luckily this time it only got up to the third step.’
He added: ‘The clear up operation now is so difficult because the water is mixed with sewage.
‘So that means we have to disinfect every last thing here, which is a nightmare, but there’s a real risk of infection if we don’t.
‘The water came up to the table tops so you can imagine how much needs doing.
‘Luckily I’m a member of the Rotary Club so I have lots of helping hands with me today, hopefully I’ll open up again next week.
‘In the meantime though I’m missing a lot of trade, it’s bad for business.’