20 November 2009
For further information please contact
Penny Sims, PSims@redcross.org.uk, +44 (0)20 7877 7044, 07659 145095 (out of office hours)
Angela Mycock, AMycock@redcross.org.uk, +44(0)1565 682330
Helen Furnivall, HFurnivall@redcross.org.uk, +44(0)7834 496765
British Red Cross swift water rescue teams have been operating two boats in Cockermouth, with a third on its way, as part of a search and rescue operation to get people out of flooded properties.
The Red Cross has been working in partnership with the RNLI, the Coastguard and the Fire and Rescue Service. The two boats have been working in relays, to ensure 24 hour cover for the search and rescue service. The 15-strong swift water rescue team have been rescuing people mainly from the main street of Cockermouth. Four Red Cross Landrover ambulances are also out in Cockermouth to help with transportation and for any first aid assistance that might be required.
According to Judi Evans, British Red Cross operations director, Cumbria: “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 alongside other agencies.“
Red Cross volunteers are currently providing support to the residents at a rest centre in Cockermouth along with volunteers from St John Ambulance and Rotary. Volunteers are helping with registration, providing information and offering emotional support to people.
The Red Cross is expecting more requests for assistance with many areas of the UK on flood alert.
The British Red Cross responds to emergencies both in the UK and overseas. The organisation played a leading role in the response to the flooding across the UK in 2007 and in Morpeth in 2008, delivering food, water and hygiene kits to people in affected areas. Volunteers also provided help at rest centres for those who had been forced to leave their homes.
The British Red Cross
For an interview with our operations director in Northern Scotland Ian Rideout, who is responding to the flooding, please call Penny Sims on +44(0)207 877 7044.
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.
For more information about the Red Cross please visit www.redcross.org.uk