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Volunteers step up their response in flooded South West

6 February 2014

As bad weather sweeps across the South West of England, our emergency response volunteers have been stepping up their support to vulnerable people.

Over the past two weeks, thousands of people throughout Cornwall, Devon and Somerset have been dealing with the misery of continued flooding and power outages.

As the latest surge of wet weather came in on Tuesday, British Red Cross teams were out to offer round-the-clock assistance. Besides providing emotional support, they are distributing food, hot drinks, blankets and hygiene kits to people caught up in the ongoing crisis.

Mass evacuation

Those needing urgent help included 30 residents of a care home in the Cornish village of Coverack, and the residents of a caravan park in Bodmin. Volunteers also supported a woman in Truro with a premature newborn baby.

In the Somerset Levels area, which has been particularly badly hit, the Red Cross has deployed three 4X4 vehicles. We have also sent out a monster-sized Unimog vehicle, which can get through flooded roads to reach cut-off residents.

In Fordgate and Northmoor, where residents in more than 150 properties have been advised to leave their homes, volunteers have set up a rest centre.

‘Sustained response’

In Cornwall and Devon, volunteers worked throughout Tuesday night and Wednesday to support vulnerable people affected by weather-related power outages. The local power company keeps a list of customers who particularly need support.

Sarah Gibson, Red Cross operations director, said: "Our volunteers are used to providing concentrated support at smaller scale emergencies, but this crisis is different because it has demanded a sustained response over a long period of time.”

She added: “As with all Red Cross responses, it’s not the scale of the crisis that matters but the impact on the people affected. We’re calling on all our resources to ensure we’ll be here to help for as long as we’re needed.”

Get advice and information on preparing for and dealing with flooding.

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