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British Red Cross volunteers rescue pregnant woman from flooded home in North Wales

27 November 2012

For immediate release Tuesday 27 November, 2012
For further information Rebecca McIlhone rmcilhone@redcross.org.uk
Contact number 0117 3012624 or 07525 128 297

British Red Cross volunteers used a 4x4 ambulance to help emergency services rescue a pregnant woman from her flooded home in North Wales today and rescues continue as the flood waters rise (12noon).

The woman was brought out through the window of the property and taken, along with three other people, to the rest centre in St Asaph where she could be checked over by a GP and supported by Red Cross volunteers.

First aid is being provided for people affected by the cold and suffering from minor injuries and wheelchairs and other medical equipment are being transported in by 4x4 vehicles from the Red Cross centre in Abergele. Volunteers are also working with a local GP to arrange for replacement medication (such as insulin for people with diabetes) to be transported in from Glanclwyd Hospital.

Volunteers set up the rest centre in St Asaph Leisure Centre around midnight last night on the request of Denbighshire County Council, where they are providing emotional support, as well as warm drinks, dry clothes and blankets to those affected.

Elisa Gibson, 72, a great grandmother from Llys-Y-Felin, who is receiving support at the rest centre today said: “Everything here is perfect apart from there is no bath!”

Elisa, who was alerted at around 2am to the danger by a neighbour and later evacuated by the fire service, said: “One minute the water was just covering the floor and the next it was up to my knees.

“It was coming in through air vents and doors. I tried to brush it out but it was useless.”

When Elisa was evacuated, her husband, Colin, stayed behind to save their two cats and eventually managed to carry them to safety through water that was up to his chin. Elisa and her family will continue to be supported until they are able to find alternative accommodation.

While more Red Cross staff and volunteers have been transported in to relieve those who have been working overnight, many staff and volunteers will bed down there as traffic chaos makes it difficult to leave. There are currently four first aid volunteers, eight emergency response volunteers and three staff at the rest centre, while others continue to support the emergency services in the area.

David Hallows, Red Cross service manager for emergency response in North Wales, said: “Our volunteers have been responding to requests from both the local authority and the Police to assist with ensuring the safety and well-being of members of the community.

“The rest centre in St Asaph is up and running and our volunteers have also been deployed in a Red Cross 4x4 Land Rover ambulance and another 4x4 vehicle to assist with the evacuation of sheltered accommodation for the elderly where we helped transport residents through flood water to safety.”

More volunteers from elsewhere in Wales along with additional 4x4 vehicles are en route to affected areas to help with the response efforts and volunteers from Cheshire and Liverpool are also on standby.

Jeff Collins, director of the British Red Cross in Wales, says: "We are an emergency response organisation, here to help people in times of crisis. This is what we do and why we train so hard to make sure we do it well."

To find out more about the Red Cross please visit redcross.org.uk.

ENDS

Notes to editors

Interview opportunity: Dilwyn Roberts, Red Cross emergency response volunteer is available for interview. He is currently at the rest centre in St Asaph and has been there since the operation started early this morning. Contact Rebecca McIlhone on 0117 3012624 to arrange.

The British Red Cross helps people in crisis, whoever and wherever they are. We are part of a global voluntary network, responding to conflicts, natural disasters and individual emergencies.

We enable vulnerable people in the UK and abroad to prepare for and withstand emergencies in their own communities. And when the crisis is over, we help them to recover and move on with their lives.

Follow us on Twitter: @BRC_West

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