20 November 2009
Following heavy rains that brought devastating flooding to Cockermouth, Red Cross swift water rescue teams – equipped with two boats – have been helping in the operation to evacuate more than 200 people.
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Working alongside the RNLI, Coastguard and Fire and Rescue Service, the Red Cross has been providing 24-hour support and worked throughout the night to get residents out of flooded properties. A third boat is currently en route to the area to further help in the rescue effort.
The organisation also has four Red Cross Land Rover 4x4 ambulances in Cockermouth to help transport stricken residents and deal with any first aid requirements.
According to Judi Evans, operations director: “We’ve mainly been working in the main street of Cockermouth. We are seeing unprecedented levels and speed of water, which has made the search and rescue operation very difficult. It’s much higher than the flooding we have seen before in similar situations.“It does look like the water is beginning to recede but the Red Cross is going to be here for some time yet – continuing to move people from the flooded properties and then to provide help and support.“
Rest centre support
Volunteers are also currently supporting residents at two rest centres in Cockermouth. Working with St John’s Ambulance and Rotary International, they are providing information and offering emotional support to those caught up in the crisis.
The Red Cross has also set up a control centre in Newcastle and is expecting more requests for assistance. Tesco has donated 200 packs of clothes for children and adults that have been driven up to Cumbria by volunteers from Lincolnshire.
The Environment Agency currently has four severe flood warnings in place – all in Cumbria – while the Scottish Environment Protection Agency reported nine severe flood warnings.
Read our emergency responder's blog from the centre of Cockermouth
Read our blog about the Cockermouth floods
How to prepare for emergencies
Preparing for floods and flooding
Become an emergency response volunteer
The Red Cross is only able to respond so quickly and comprehensively to emergencies by releasing money from its General Funds, which our supporters generously donate to every day.