Ceredigion floods: Christmas party for victims

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A Christmas party has been held for the victims of Ceredigion's floods six months after torrential rain caused devastation to homes and businesses.

Residents were warned they would have to leave their properties for up to six months after a month's worth of rain fell in 24 hours on 8 and 9 June.

Some have already returned but others are still waiting as their homes are taking longer than expected to dry out.

The party for 95 was held at a hotel in Aberystwyth on Sunday.

The town and nearby villages of Talybont, Dol-y-Bont, Capel Bangor, Penrhyncoch and Llandre were among the areas affected by June's deluge, along with some caravan parks.

In September, Ceredigion council said 15 households evacuated in June had moved back, but three months later some residents are facing Christmas away from home.

Mick Fothergill, a senior research scientist at Aberystwyth University, and his wife were left homeless when the floods hit their Talybont home in June.

They are living in rented accommodation and Mr Fothergill said it could be February before they could move back home.

"It [the flooding] happened very, very quickly in the middle of the night," Mr Fothergill said.

"The water rose up from the river and through my house to a depth of probably about seven feet (2m) - taking out the whole of the downstairs of my house.

Image caption,
The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall met flood victims and emergency services in Aberystwyth

"We've been in rented accommodation since that date and we're still there.

"I suppose the best estimate of when we could get back into the house would probably be late February next year."

He added: "I thought initially that six months would be a reasonable time for the house to dry out and all the work to be done, but it's taken so long for the house to dry out properly."

Mr Fothergill said the community had pulled together in the months following the floods, but he also described the last six months as a "rollercoaster of emotions" with some "dark periods".

He said a village flood group was developing a community flood plan, and the Environment Agency was protecting properties from future problems.

Ceredigion council said officers from Public Health Protection visited people affected by the flooding on 30 November to discuss and monitor the progress of repairs to their properties.

The council said of 110 properties affected internally, 33 had works outstanding, work at 64 homes had been completed and 14 required no further action.

The council said of 57 severely damaged properties, 25 had works outstanding, work at 25 homes had works completed, while the council said there was no further information about seven properties.

Council leader Ellen ap Gwynn sympathised with the displaced residents, saying: "Unfortunately, many of them are still not back home.

'Christmas party'

"It takes such a long time to wait for the houses to dry out properly before work can be done.

"Some of the older houses, especially the old stone houses, have taken a lot longer to dry and they're only now beginning to start the work of renovation.

"We are having a Christmas party for everyone that was involved to give them a bit of a boost.

"I know some are back home, but quite a few aren't and it'll be quite a few weeks yet before they'll be back home."

Ceredigion council is still counting the cost of the floods.

It spent £300,000 clearing up in the immediate aftermath, fixing roads and bridges.

It is expected repair costs will rise to more than £400,000.

About £118,000 has been collected through the council leader's appeal fund.

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