18 Nov 2010

Flooded Cornwall awakes to major clear-up operation

Cornwall awakes to a major clean-up operation after torrential rain devastated several parts of the county. And locals are warned that further flooding is possible.

Flooded Cornwall awakes to major clear-up operation (Getty)

The floods brought chaos to St Austell, Lostwithiel, St Blazey, Bodmin, Par, Mevagissey and Luxulyan, leaving homes and businesses caked in layers of mud after the waters receded.

There were no reports of serious injuries but about 100 homes were evacuated by emergency services, coastguard rescue teams and RAF helicopters, and the transport network virtually came to a standstill because of a landslide at Lostwithiel.

Heavy showers continued throughout the early hours of this morning, but meteorologists said they were not as severe as the original deluge.

However, the Environment Agency warned of the risk of further flooding, but downgraded the number of flood warnings to three, and the number of flood watches to 13.

The warnings were issued on stretches of the River Clyst, Axe and Culm.

Today’s clean-up operations come as a large flood response demonstration takes place in Hampshire.

Operation Watermark

It is part of Operation Watermark, a Government-led initiative to test the nation’s response to flooding, which culminates in a nationwide flood exercise in March next year.

Today’s exercise will last for two days and involve a number of emergency workers simulating a response to severe weather and a flooded campsite.

Yesterday, the Prime Minister David Cameron said that Cornwall would receive as much help as it needed and the Environment Agency also revealed that more than 200 properties had been protected by existing flood defence schemes.

But FactCheck suggested that Mr Cameron’s claim was not quite waterproof.

Cardinham, on Bodmin, recorded 0.74in (18.8mm) of rain in one hour and 2in (50mm) in nine hours.

“Most of the water has subsided now but it’s left us with a big clean up operation.” Shopkeeper David Lormer

David Lormer, who owns a furniture shop in St Austell, told Channel 4 News his shop had been hit by 10 inches of water.

He said: “When I got to the shop, it was like a river running through the streets. I opened up and there were eight to 10 inches of water…Most of the water has subsided now but it’s left us with a big clean up operation now, just as we were getting ready for Christmas, our busiest time.

“People have been fantastic though, really helpful.”

One local tourist attraction – the Eden Project – will be closed, possibly until Saturday, as a result of the flooding.

Cornwall Council leader Alec Robertson praised the response from all the agencies involved in the flooding.

“This was a very serious incident and our thoughts are with everyone who has been affected by the flooding,” he said.

“Almost every part of the council has been involved in dealing with the incident.

“It is also important to pay tribute to all those people who helped their neighbours – this was a real example of communities working together to support each other.”