'Heart-warming' response to flooding
Monday, 10 February 2014
The Leader of Hampshire County Council, Cllr Roy Perry, has praised the work of all public and private sector partners and the community spirit that has seen hundreds of local volunteers turn out in force to help those areas where people have been vulnerable to flooding.
As the county continues to feel the full force of the wettest January for more than 200 years, with a further month's average rain predicted for the next 4 days, Cllr Perry said it was 'heart-warming' to hear of such community resilience in these testing times.
Whether it was helping to fill the thousands of sandbags delivered by district councils to local communities or managing the traffic, he said they deserved 'enormous praise' for their efforts, while County Council staff and contractors worked with their partners to ensure all available resources were deployed where they were most needed.
"The situation we are in currently is undeniably challenging and for the foreseeable future, with further rain expected, it will remain so. Nonetheless, we are determined that every effort is made with our partners to try to keep roads open and to provide support to the most affected areas. The emergency responses from our partners in Police and Fire have played a vital role in reducing the impact of flooding and helping people to stay, and feel, safe."
"I have received very positive feedback about how communities are pulling together to maintain business as usual, building on the superb example set by the people of Hambledon. To have only two schools out of around 500 closed today (St Bede in Winchester and Fordingbridge Junior School), is a real testimony to the efforts of local people, our staff and partners. I received a message today from Winchester MP Steve Brine thanking Hampshire County Council for its help at St Bede's School Parents and staff have worked extremely hard over the weekend, with support from local businesses. We are continuing to monitor the situation closely and do all we can to get the schools reopened as quickly as possible.
St Bede's headteacher Louise Fitzpatrick said: "We have had fantastic support from Hampshire County Council, Winchester City Council and the Environment Agency who have kept us informed continually for the last month. Our school community has responded absolutely brilliantly too and on Friday, an army of parents helped fill sandbags and worked with other workmen to build up the defences."
Eric Pickles, the Secretary of State for the Department of Communities and Local Government, in answer to a question by Caroline Nokes MP for Romsey, has praised Hampshire for the way it is dealing with the flooding, commenting: "I think Hampshire has behaved particularly well throughout the crisis, and in liaising with my Department and with DEFRA, it has been exceptionally good."
With no immediate end to the downpours in sight, rivers at bursting point and grounds saturated with nowhere for the water to go, Cllr Perry said he, along with other Members of the Council, would be meeting with colleagues from Hampshire's emergency services and district councils later this week to make sure that that everything is, and continues to be done, to use all the collective resource available to make sure Hampshire is as well protected as possible.
Cllr Sean Woodward, the Executive Member for Economy, Transport and Environment, said: "Since the heavy rain hit Hampshire, more than 100 highways staff have been working round the clock along with 200 frontline staff from Amey. Emergency Planning and Property Services and many others have been at full stretch. This weekend alone, we had over 70 staff working 12 hour shifts, providing 24 hours cover, with 10,000 sandbags deployed in just 48 hours."
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