13 January 2017
British Red Cross volunteers and staff are helping people affected by a potential storm surge along the east coast of England.
Coastal communities are braced for large waves and possible flooding throughout Friday and into Saturday morning.
Red Cross volunteers are in ten rest centres across Lincolnshire, Norfolk, Suffolk and Essex.
They have helped over 120 people who have been evacuated from their homes.
Volunteers are providing emotional and practical support, as well as first aid.
Thousands of homes are being evacuated by local authorities in coastal areas.
Rachel Kirvan, Red Cross emergency response officer, said: “Being evacuated from your home can be incredibly stressful, especially in a situation like this when you don’t know what you may be going back to.
“It can be particularly distressing for the elderly and vulnerable.
“Red Cross volunteers will be on hand, assisting the local authority to provide hot drinks, meals, comfort and reassurance, as well as practical assistance such as dealing with insurance companies if this becomes necessary.”
Sam and Miriam Galea were evacuated from their home on the Essex seafront last night and are now at the rest centre in Jaywick.
“We were evacuated last night at 9.30pm by the police, who brought us to the rest centre,” said Sam.
“Even though it’s been a crisis situation to be evacuated from our home, we’ve had lots of teas, breakfasts, sandwiches, and been incredibly well looked after.”
Miriam, who has Parkinson’s disease, added: “The thing that’s great about the Red Cross is that one of the volunteers helped me when I was feeling unwell. I was really grateful to have someone there to look after me.”
The Environment Agency is urging people to check their flood risk on GOV.UK.
They also advise more precaution near the coast, and for people to avoid walking along coastal paths and promenades.
The public should contact the police on the non-emergency number 101 if they have any concerns about their safety or that of their family.
In an emergency the public should call 999.
People can also call the Environment Agency Floodline on 0345 988 1188 for the latest flood warnings in their own area.
The British Red Cross emergency app is also available to download.
The app delivers real-time alerts, severe weather warnings and practical advice in an emergency straight to a smart phone or tablet.