I wept watching last night’s news. This is not an unusual occurrence, which my husband can confirm, but I was watching images of the flooding in the south and south west of the UK and tears poured down my cheeks.
There was the young man who had moved into his first home last week and was trying to remove water with a single bucket, trying hard to keep his own eyes dry with the heartbreak. There was the lady who described an elderly man of 91 years whose wife was infirm. He could not care for her and no carers could get to him. There was the farmer in Somerset whose watery eyes spoke of defeat. ‘This may be the end of it for me,’ he said, or words to that effect. Thank God there have been few deaths but each has been one too many.
When there are disasters on the coast it is so tragic and yet most of us are in awe of the power of the sea at its worst. The communities seem to rally around. Lifeboat men become rescuers taking boats along the water-logged streets. Communities more used to such events rally around and somehow, with each other’s support, seem to survive.
It was the shots of the area along the Thames that hit me most powerfully. The quiet. Individuals stranded, coping on their own as best they could. The Englishman’s home no longer a castle but isolated islands, cut off from the mainland. England as I knew it was sinking before my eyes.
As I tossed in my sleep I felt helpless. What was I doing about it? If it had been a disaster in another part of the world I would have dug deep in my pocket and phoned the hot-line; satisfied in the knowledge that I’d done my bit, bought a shelter for a family or food for a month. Then I would have got on with my life and wept no more.
When it is all over questions will be asked as to why it has happened. Lack of dredging of the rivers maybe; too many new houses built on farmland with no new infrastructure; too much concrete; tree disease or just not enough trees; global warming?
The story of The Three Pigs flashes through my mind. Whereas wooden structures would have been washed away, the majority of brick homes are still standing and, eventually, they will be dried, cleaned and restored as new. An insurance nightmare no doubt for all of us.
Whatever the reasons I pray that the consequences are
neighbourliness, less focus on material things and above all common sense strategies to minimise the likelihood of such a devastation reoccurring.
Now where’s that flood-line number for victims of the UK floods?