By Robert Mooney
RICHMOND, North Yorkshire, UK – New Year’s is supposed to be a time for celebration for everyone, a new start and a chance to gather as family and friends.
Unfortunately, for many in the UK, this is far from the reality. After torrential rain and wind for a number of days, especially across southern England, many are spending the new year clearing up the mess that floods left behind.
From being evacuated by fire crews to spending the night in temporary shelters, many people haven’t had the happy end to the year that they’d hoped for. It must be not only frustrating but saddening to know that the start of the year has been ruined by floods and threats of further bad weather to come.
Forecasters warned that the UK is in for a month of floods, not just in Southern England but all over the country. This will almost certainly be the start of much more bad weather to come.
This may not only cost residents in heating bills, but also in repairs. Despite past efforts, the government cannot, especially in the current economic climate, keep paying the cost of repairs to houses and businesses. It’s simply not sustainable.
It does provide a great opportunity for investment in flood defenses and it may mean good news in the long term to places that have been hit hard by floods. This is something that will secure peoples futures and provide jobs for many of those affected.
Currently, it is not known whether the government will step in to help with the recovery effort but in true Christmas and New Year’s spirit, it seems that many communities have come together to help each other and still have a good time over the Christmas break. What amazes me is that every time there is a “crisis” in a community, people often pull together to help those in need and clear up the remnants of what has been left behind.
But this is not the end of our weather woes.
Britain must brace itself for a whole month of extremely bad weather that may bring more property damage. As well as the obvious inconvenience and devastation, it may also prove to be a challenge for those already struggling to make ends meet. This is the reason the government has to step in, year after year.
I applaud the work of the UK’s emergency services and volunteers who help those in need. Without them, I don’t think the general public would cope. It may seem that it’s just a bit of flooding, but in some situations, there are lives at risk. This is why it’s so important that we don’t take our emergency services for granted.
Any weather that causes people distress or forces them from their homes is never good, but it may be something that we have to get used to. A month of severe weather is bad enough, but having this every year could be the last straw for many. More investment in flood defenses and similar schemes will likely boost employment and give people the security they need to feel safe from future floods.
Over the coming months, I hope and expect a sense of normality to return to communities hardest hit by the floods, but the bad weather has not only ruined the new year but brought uncertainty to many communities for the foreseeable future.