Help for residents caught up in the flooding

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AGENCIES are working hard to help residents get back to normal as quickly as possible following the storm which hit the region yesterday.

Teams from North Tyneside Council are working with partner agencies on the areas most affected by the deluge of rain, supporting residents who had to be evacuated from their homes.

Cars on Beach Road, North Shields, caught up in the flooding on Thursday afternoon.

Cars on Beach Road, North Shields, caught up in the flooding on Thursday afternoon.

Among the areas worst affected were Brantwood Avenue, West Monkseaton; Preston Village; Rocket Way, Forest Hall; and Chicken Road, Wallsend.

Staff have been able to advise people about repairs, help them access help from other agencies, including Northumbrian Water, and give them practical support.

All the council’s cleansing teams and resources have been diverted to the clean-up operation.

And a centre has been set up to handle calls and ensure that those who need help get it as quickly as possible.

In addition, council officers are visiting every building affected by the flooding – including schools, libraries and leisure centres – to assess the damage and begin work to get them re-opened to the public as soon as possible.

The council is allowing the free use of showers at all its leisure centres – except Marden Bridge – for anyone to use if they are without hot water or unable to get into their homes.

And it has pledged to collect damage furniture and belongings from flooded homes free of charge – but residents are being reminded that they must check with insurance companies before disposing of any items.

Mayor Linda Arkley said: “Our staff are out in the communities making sure everyone who needs help gets it and doing a great job.

“They are supporting people who have gone through so much in the last few hours.

“People who have been frightened to watch the floodwater invade their homes, families who have lost their personal belongings and so many people who now wondering where to start as they try to rebuild their lives.

“We are doing whatever we can to help. Providing practical help and information as well as emotional help – including offering people the chance to use our showers if they have no hot water and confirming that we will be collecting the flood damaged furniture free of charge.

“We’ll continue to work with our communities and our partners to do whatever is needed to support the people of North Tyneside through this experience.”

The council is also reminding the public of what they should do if their home is flooded.

It is particularly important that residents do not dispose of anything until they have the go-ahead from insurance companies.

And any records of water levels, with marks on walls or photographs of the flooding, are also useful.

Any householder who believes flood water may include sewerage should ring Northumbria Water on 0845 717 1100 who will organise a clean-up team.

As the water subsides, residents should not enter their property unless they know it is safe to do so.

Residents are also being reminded not to switch on gas or electricity supplies until they have been inspected and declared safe, and do not eat or drink anything that has been in floodwater.

Northumbrian Water has confirmed that drinking water remains safe to use.

When undertaking a clean up, everyone should wear gloves and should be particularly careful as water levels may hide hidden objects that could cause accidents.

If you or a member of your family becomes ill or swallows floodwater contact your doctor and let them know you have been flooded.

And parents are being urged to prevent their children from playing anywhere where there has been contact with floodwater. The council has also received reports of children swimming or taking inflatables into deep floodwater.

Floodwater has also caused damage to a number of council facilities, and schools, and many of these buildings may continue to be closed into next week.

Residents can continue to check their local weather forecast and visit the Environment Agency website for any further flood alerts at www.environment-agency.gov.uk

• Have you been affected by the floods? Contact the News Guardian on (0191) 251 8484 or email news.guardian@northeast-press.co.uk