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Emergency volunteers help during floods and gales

15 November 2010

Emergency response volunteer guides truck over bridge© InfoDuring a week of awful weather, emergency response volunteers have been on hand to help people caught up in floods and gales across the country.

Two emergency response teams raced to help on 11 November when severe gales, with gusts of more than 90 miles per hour, forced the closure of two bridges spanning Anglesey and Wales.

Hundreds of people were left stranded after the Britannia and Menai suspension bridges were closed to all traffic. Volunteers on the mainland were on site to offer warm food and emotional support – and provide information point to keep people informed of news from the local authorities and emergency services.

Emblem of trust

First aid volunteer Dilwyn Roberts said: “People were very stressed because of the delays. We spoke with a lot of lorry drivers, many of whom were from mainland Europe and worried about getting home to their families. Since the Red Cross emblem is internationally recognised, people were approaching us knowing we were a trusted source of information.”

Sergeant Craig Jones, from North Wales Police, said: “The Red Cross did an excellent job and made a considerable contribution in supporting the police, local authority and highways authorities. Their work was invaluable to the operation.”

David Hallows, service co-ordinator, added: “Our initial team was mobilised within 15 minutes of receiving the call-out and the second team were happy to be pulled out of their beds in the middle of the night. They all worked tirelessly, and the professionalism and dedication shown by all of them is a credit to the Red Cross.”

‘Distressed people’

Just two days earlier, a team of seven volunteers on the Isle of Wight were called into action as flash flooding forced distressed residents to leave their homes.

Volunteer Ian Stockton, from Newport, said: ““People were very distressed – there was up to five feet of water in places. Among the first things many people were asking for was children’s clothing, so we provided that. We also handed out food and hygiene packs, and loaned out mobile telephones so people could call insurance companies and their families.

“It was very hard work and not something I’d like to have to see again because of the distress it caused to so many people.”

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