UK ‘poorly prepared’ for floods with four in five people unaware of what to do, says British Red Cross | UK News

Britain is “ill-prepared” to respond to floods, the British Red Cross has warned. UK households are unprepared

It comes before fresh surface water warnings flood will become more common this winter and early 2023.

In a new report, charities estimate that three out of four people do not have an adequate understanding of the area’s flood risk, and four out of five people are unaware of what to do if it occurs.

Chris Davies, head of crisis response at the British Red Cross, told Sky News: “In every corner of the UK, more of us are going to be affected by flooding.

“As our summers get warmer, our winters get wetter, we’ll experience more rainfall, and we’re more likely to experience flooding.”

London on the Thames – literally. Picture: Ben Cawthra/LNP

In July 2021, major flooding in London affected 1,500 properties and hit hospitals and public transport infrastructure.

Piri Ramazanoglu’s home in Ealing, west London, had been one of the homes hit. He told Sky News: “My family came home after my two boys had a cricket match and we discovered two inches of water in the house, which was slowly getting more and more.

“From the light well in front, the garden, the sinks, the toilet and the showers, sewage water filled our property until it was knee high.

“We soon realized this was the same as hundreds of properties around us too. It was very scary”.

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Piri’s son, Raphael, suffers from severe allergies, and the effects of being exposed to the sewage in their home were almost life-threatening.

Piri added: “Two days after the flood, my son was lethargic and struggling to breathe and was taken to hospital where he was given oxygen. They told us his airways had been contaminated by the sewage.”

The gym at the Houses of Parliament in central London is flooded after rain fell in the capital.  After weeks of sweltering weather, which has caused drought and left land parched, the Met Office's yellow thunderstorm warning warns of heavy rain and thunderstorms that could affect parts of England and Wales.  Photo date: Wednesday 17 August 2022.
The gym at the Houses of Parliament was partially submerged during London’s floods

After the flood, Piri’s family stayed in several hotels as renovation and repair work was underway at their home. Construction work started in April this year, nine months after the flood.

Piri added: “We were incredibly lucky because the insurance company paid for our temporary accommodation and repairs, but that’s not possible for everyone

“There is a lot of responsibility on the individual to deal with what happens to their home due to flooding.

“I believe instead that there needs to be better accountability and action from the water companies, councils and authorities. Thousands of people’s lives were at stake”.

There have been fresh calls for the UK government to invest in infrastructure that copes with the effects of turbulent weather, preventing surface water flooding where possible.

Stricter controls

Last week, a report from the National Infrastructure Commission (NIC) warned. the number of homes and properties in England at risk of surface water flooding could double in the next 30 years.

This is unless £12 billion is invested in drainage systems and stricter controls on new property developments.

The commission said increased drainage capacity and less reliance on existing drainage systems is needed to cope with heavier rainfall, but more sustainable alternatives should be considered before digging more pipes and sewers.

The Commission’s £12 billion investment proposal includes lower cost, above-ground measures such as grassed canals, rain gardens and ponds, which are more sustainable drainage solutions that benefit wildlife.

A Government spokesperson said: “We are tackling stormwater flooding through our £5.2bn flood defense programme, with over 30% of 2,000 new flood defences, including sustainable drainage systems, set to improve surface water management.

“We will carefully consider the findings of the NIC’s reports before publishing our response in 2023.”

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