Storm Christoph flooding: Financial help offered to victims

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Media caption,

Drone footage captures the extent of the damage the bridge over the River Clwyd

Financial help has been promised to those affected by serious flooding, the Welsh Government has announced.

People have been forced to leave their homes and a major incident declared after Storm Christoph struck.

About 80 people were evacuated during flooding thought to be related to mine works in Skewen, Neath, while 30 were evacuated in Bangor-on-Dee, Wrexham.

The Welsh Government said it would work with councils to deliver £500-£1,000 payments to affected households.

Environment minister, Lesley Griffiths, said people across Wales were facing the "twin problems" of floods and the coronavirus pandemic.

She said: "We will support people in these circumstances just as we did in the aftermath of storms Ciara and Dennis last year, by working with local authorities to make support payments of between £500 and £1,000 available for each household flooded."

Severe flood warnings remain in place across Wales as river levels remain high.

In the Lower Dee Valley a severe flood warning remains in force, from Llangollen to Trevalyn Meadow, and a major incident was declared in Bangor-on-Dee.

Wrexham council leader Mark Pritchard said teams worked to ensure the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, made on Wrexham Industrial Estate, was not lost in the floods.

Image caption,
Firefighters in Skewen waded through water up to their thighs amidst reports of evacuated homes

About 80 people were evacuated in Skewen, including residents of a care home, after at least eight streets were left under water.

Emergency services said there were no injuries and all those evacuated had been found accommodation, but people are asked to avoid the area.

In Denbighshire, a bridge linking Trefnant to Tremeirchion over the River Clwyd collapsed in the storm. The council said it would be investigating the cause of the flooding, which forced road closures and evacuations.

Natural Resources Wales (NRW) said the River Dee, which runs through Bangor-on-Dee, was at its highest recorded level since the water gauge became operational in 1996 - 16.45m (54ft).

It urged people across Wales to remain vigilant, with river levels not set to have peaked until late Thursday evening, adding they would remain high until Friday morning.

Media caption,

People flee homes after Storm Christoph flooding

The Met Office said over the past two days Wales had the highest rainfall of the four UK nations.

Between 19 and 21 January, Aberllefenni in Gwynedd saw 188mm (7.5in) of rain, more than average rainfall for Wales for the whole of January, which is 156.89mm (63in).

That was followed by 180mm (7in) in Crai reservoir, Powys, 169.8mm (6.6in) in Treherbert, Rhondda Cynon Taf, and 166mm (6.5in) in both Maerdy, RCT, and Capel Curig, Conwy.

Image caption,
Llechryd bridge in Ceredigion has been completely submerged by the River Teifi
Image caption,
Up to 30 people were forced out of their homes in Bangor-on-Dee, Wrexham
Image caption,
Natural Resources Wales said the River Dee was at its highest level since the water gauge became operational

Vaccine secured from floodwater

The flooding threatened the supply of the coronavirus Oxford vaccine, which is produced at Wrexham Industrial Estate.

Wrexham council leader Mr Pritchard said it had to work to "make sure we didn't lose the vaccinations in the floods".

"I've been up all night... it's a very difficult time for us," he added.

Image source, @newsar
Image caption,
North East Wales Search and Rescue helped people whose homes were flooded in New Broughton, Wrexham

Wockhardt UK, which manufactures the vaccine, said at about 16:00 GMT on Wednesday, excess water surrounded part of its buildings.

"The site is now secure and free from any further flood damage and operating as normal," it said.

Image caption,
The clean-up has begun in Ruthin

A multi-agency statement described the situation in Bangor-on-Dee as a "major incident".

It said: "As a severe weather warning indicates that there is a risk to life...

"The evacuation effort continues, with all routes in and out of the village currently closed to the public due to the flooding."

Earlier, some residents in Ruthin were told to leave their homes - people have been told Covid rules allow them leave their homes in an emergency.

Meanwhile, a man's body was recovered from the River Taff near Blackweir in Cardiff.

Dozens of ducks and chickens, and 12 huskies were rescued by the RSPCA from a flooded farm in Bangor, while they also took hay to two donkeys stranded by flood water in Mold.

Image source, RSPCA
Image caption,
Some 12 huskies had to be rescued after their kennels flooded

'Sheer volume of water'

Dave Brown said the flooding in his home in Broughton, Flintshire, was horrific and his mother-in-law was rescued by firefighters.

"You don't realise the damage water does and everything that floats - the sheer volume of water. I am 6ft tall and it almost took me out," he said.

Image source, Dave Brown
Image caption,
Dave Brown's mother-in-law was rescued from their home in Broughton, Flintshire

Wrexham council said some of the people forced to leave their homes were with relatives, while it found others accommodation after having to initially seek refuge in a church hall.

Nine properties in Berse Road in New Broughton were also evacuated.

The situation in Ruthin, Denbighshire, overnight was "horrendous", town councillor Stephen Beach said.

"The whole of Ruthin was on edge," he said.

"Some people were accommodated at the leisure centre, and others were offered places to stay by local residents. The community was superb.

"It was the sheer volume of water that came down - there was no stopping it."

Image caption,
Flood warnings across Wales

Weather and flood warnings

A yellow weather warning for ice for Wales has been issued by the Met Office until 10:00 GMT on Friday, with concerns it could lead to travel disruption, slips and falls.

Numerous flood warnings and alerts remain in place across Wales, including two severe flood warnings.

The agency said flood defences were being used and river levels at Holt, Wrexham, would remain high for some time."There is therefore a significant risk of localised flooding problems and due to that the severe flood warning will remain in place until the levels drop," Keith Iven of NRW said

In Monmouthshire roads were closed following flooding, and the council said while water levels at the River Usk were dropping, a "second peak" on the River Wye had been expected on Thursday night.

The council had warned people living in Riverside Park, Monmouth, may be impacted and council workers were prepared to offer support.

Image caption,
River Tywi has burst its banks in Carmarthen, affecting nearby businesses


Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service said it had attended 98 flooding-related incidents

It said it deployed swift water rescue teams to rescue 13 people from vehicles in floodwater. It also winched vehicles from water and pumped water from properties.

In Cardiff, emergency services attended a crash involving a number of vehicles at about 07:40 on the A4232 between Culverhouse Cross and the M4.

No-one was seriously injured, but both carriageways were closed for just over an hour. The road has since reopened.

In Carmarthen, people were treated for the effects of fumes after using a generator to pump water from their homes.

In Knighton and Crickhowell in Powys, crews spent Wednesday night pumping out a number of properties.

In Borth, Ceredigion, floodwater hit the water treatment plant, an electrical substation and eight properties.

Ogwen Valley Mountain Rescue Team had to rescue a man from the roof of his car.

It said he had tried to drive through the river ford along the road from Llandygai to Bangor, in Gwynedd, but had become stuck in deep water and had climbed onto the roof. He was not injured.

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Rhondda Cynon Taf council said it was aware of a minor landslip on the mountainside above Pentre.

It said an initial inspection determined there was no immediate threat to the area and a further detailed inspection would be carried out on Friday. It asked people to avoid the area.

Image caption,
Bangor-on-Dee has been badly hit by Storm Cristoph

Stay away warning

Dozens of roads have been closed across Wales, and while Covid rules are in place stopping people from travelling apart from for essential reasons, people are being warned not to travel in affected areas due to widespread flooding.

Chris Lloyd from North Wales Mountain Rescue Association warned people to not visit flood-hit areas to view the damage.

He told BBC Radio Wales: "People who are going out to look at the floods are not only putting themselves at risk, but putting additional people on the roads which professional emergency services don't want - we don't want any more incidents."

School closures

Denbighshire council said Ysgol Bodfari in Denbigh and Ysgol Caer Drewyn, Corwen, which had been open for vulnerable children and the children of critical workers, have been closed.

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