All of the 700 or so residents in a small village in South Yorkshire have been told to evacuate their homes for their own safety, as a seventh “danger to life” flood warning was issued on Saturday morning.
The latest warning was declared bythe Environment Agency (EA)for the village of Fishlake, just north of Doncaster at around 1am, after a prolonged period of “biblical” rain overtopped sea defences at the River Don.
It came hours before Robert Jenrick, the Housing Minister, announced that the Government is triggering its emergency Bellwin scheme to fund the cost of tackling floods in Yorkshire, Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire.
Under the initiative, councils who pay for items such as temporary accommodation or staff overtime in response to floods, are eligible to have the full costs reimbursed by the government.
River levels in the village, of around 200 properties, have surpassed their highest recorded level twice in under a fortnight, with tides quickly beginning to rise from the evening of the 7th November.
Levels in the River Don have exceeded five meters, which is higher than its pointduring the catastrophic 2007 floods, in which two people died in Milhouses and the Wicker.
Some local people are staying at the Salvation Army center in Lakeside if they cannot sleep at the houses of family or friends, after the authorities advised them to leave their properties on Friday night amid safety fears.
Over 30 Fishlake residents slept overnight at the center, which is providing food and shelter for those affected by the deluge of rainfall that fell heaviest in the Trundle Lane area.
Captain Alan Bawdwn, the Doncaster Salvation Army Leader, said: “We have been on standby since 7am this morning and are prepared to support our community if they are evacuated from their homes.
“Initially, we will be providing hot drinks and snacks. However, we are also working with the council to provide overnight sleeping arrangements at the hall should it be required. ”
But some residents are angry that they did not receive a severe flood warning notice from the authorities until after their homes were flooded.
Linda Bushell, 52, was forced to flee her three-bedroom house she shares with her son at around 11 pm last night after it was submerged under 4ft of water.
Ms Bushell, a care assistant who has lived in that property for 32 years, had to spend the night at the nearby Hare and Hounds pub as it is on higher ground.
She said: “My son came running downstairs saying something was going on. I went outside and saw all the roads were flooded. It was up to my knees.
“I just managed to get everything upstairs and get out of the house. We got out as quickly as we could and stayed in the pub last night.I have no idea when I can return to my house. ”
“I am still in shock, I did not think something like this would ever happen. I am also angry because we did not get any warning. This could have been avoided yesterday. The council knew about this yesterday afternoon.
“Why didn’t they do something about it then. I got a text from the Environment Agency saying I was at risk of flooding after my house had already flooded, ”Ms Bushell added.
Fishlake has been cut off from some surrounding areas because flood water has left six of its roads inaccessible.
Tractors are being used to drop off blankets, sleeping bags and food at St Cuthbert’s church, where other stranded residents slept on Friday night after being told to leave their homes.
Derbyshire and South Yorkshire have been worst hit by the floods, which experts say were caused by a “storm factory” over the Atlantic bringing torrential rain to parts of Northern England.
Annie Hall, the former High Sheriff of Derbysishire,was identified by police on Saturday as the person whose body was recovered downstream by the River Derwent, near Matlock, Hampshireyesterday afternoon.
The River Derwent, in Darley Dale, peaked at its highest ever recorded level that night, prompting fears it may imminently burst its banks.
Seven severe flood warnings- deemed a threat to life- remain in place on the River Don, which flows through Sheffield, Rotherham and Doncaster. )
The EA has deployed “temporary flood barriers” to help protect property and are advising people to avoid swollen rivers and not to travel through flood water.
On Friday night, Boris Johnson visited Matlock to help with the clean-up operation and said the government is contributing £ 2.6n towards flood defences.