Mid Wales

Householders, businesses' clean-up struggle after floods

Victims of the floods in mid Wales have spoken of their struggle to return to normal life two weeks on.

Hundreds of homes and businesses were damaged after torrential rain and overflowing rivers in the area earlier in June.

"It's been chaos," said Rhiannon Copeland, of Ystwyth Medical Group, whose GP surgery was swamped by water.

Environment Agency Wales (EAW) has organised drop-in surgeries in the area to provide advice to those affected.

Aberystwyth and nearby villages such as Talybont, Dol-y-Bont and Llandre were badly affected by the flooding.

Insurance assessors have visited communities in the county, and some householders have been told they will have to leave their homes for up to six months while flood damage is assessed and repaired.

But some flood victims living in Talybont have been told they could be away from their homes for up to nine months.

"We had 3-5ft of flood water in the surgery on the Saturday," said Ms Copeland, one of the managers of the practice at Parc Y Llyn, Aberystwyth, which was one of many buildings severely damaged.

The practice, which has 9,000 registered patients, has had to seek temporary accommodation five miles (8km) away in Penrhyncoch.

"Quite miraculously Aberystwyth University had an empty building which they offered us, and which we were able to inspect at 7.30pm on the Saturday," said Ms Copeland.

"We rescued what we could. Everything on the first floor was fine. We had an emergency pack put together for us by Bronglais Hospital and we've begged and borrowed what we can since."

Luckily, Ms Copeland said, the practice's patient records were stored on computers on the first floor of the surgery which escaped the flood water.

The surgery managed to open for emergency appointments on the Monday after the flooding, she said, and has been operating as close to normally as possible this week - albeit with just one telephone and no internet connection.

"It's been quite an experience," said Ms Copeland. "We have been on auto-pilot just trying to get things up and running again.

"We don't know how long we will be here. Optimistically we're looking at six months but it could be as long as 12."

Faced with patients having to make a five-mile trip to see their doctor, the local health board has laid on a special bus service, Ms Copeland said.

"On the whole very few patients have not turned up for their appointments," she said.

Image caption The bottom floor of the surgery was ruined

Jason Hughes was one of few householders in Dol-y-Bont to escape with relatively little flood damage when the River Leri overflowed, causing widespread damage in just 20 minutes.

"I was one of the lucky ones," said Mr Hughes, 38, who is married with three children.

"My house is more elevated than many others in the village. My garden is in a mess but it's nothing compared to what other people have gone through."

Mr Hughes said some homes in the village have remained empty since the flooding, with residents being told they will have to stay away for up to six months.

"I know of four people who have had to move out until everything is sorted out with the insurance and everything that has been touched by the water has been replaced.

'Waiting game'

Image caption Caravan sites and villages around the area were affected by the flooding

"Because the main sewerage in the village was affected everything is contaminated."

Mr Hughes said morale was good in the community, despite many having to wait to see what will happen with their insurance.

"It's a waiting game - waiting for the insurance companies to get back to us. And obviously everybody's insurance is going to be sky high after this."

Meanwhile EAW said its officers, together with Ceredigion and Gwynedd councils would hold drop-in sessions to listen to people's experiences and answer their questions.

Information will be given to residents on the agency's flood warning service, what practical steps can be taken after the flood and how to prepare for any future flood.

"We also know they will have many questions and we want to do our best to answer those," said EAW's Graham Hillier

"We want to offer our sympathy to people who were affected by the flooding and to hear what they have to say."

Meanwhile on Saturday, a 12-hour flood relief fundraiser is being held at the Aberystwyth University students union.

Image caption Ystwyth Medical Practice in Aberystwyth has had to temporarily relocate

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