Police officers help with yesterday's evacuation

6 December 2013 I 14:30

Thousands of residents are being advised that there is no longer a need for them to stay away from their homes.

All partner agencies have agreed, following advice from the Environment Agency, that a phased return can begin with mutual aid support being stood down.

The second high tide did not lead to any major incidents so the closure of rest centres will now be staggered to ensure residents and property owners can return in a safe manner.  

There is still a potential for normal winter flooding to affect certain areas and in particular the Broads river system. Some flood defences are described as "battered and bruised” with agencies assessing the need to repair any potential damage over the coming days.

Emergency services will continue to offer assistance to vulnerable members of the community who may need help and local authorities will now be offering transport and support for those few residents unable to return to properties affected by flood damage.

 

Public Health Advice

Norfolk County Council’s Public Health team and Public Health England is offering the following advice to keep you and your family safe returning home after flooding:

  • Take care with electrics and gas: do not switch on electrical appliances that have been in contact with floodwater unless a competent electrician has checked them, as there is a risk of electrocution. 
  • Keep children safe: keep children and pets out of the affected area until the clean-up has been completed.
  • Remember to wash your hands thoroughly after each clean-up session and always before eating or preparing food. Do not eat food that has touched flood water.
  • Put on protective clothing: rubber boots, an apron and waterproof gloves. A standard face mask, such as those sold in DIY stores, is also a good idea if you are scrubbing, hosing or pressure-washing. Goggles offer added protection and they can be reused after thorough washing. Cover any open cuts with waterproof plasters.
  • Using clean water, detergent, then a normal kitchen disinfectant, clean and disinfect work surfaces, plates, pans, cutlery, and plastic/glass chopping boards, before preparing food.
  • Powerful disinfectants, such as strong bleach are not necessary and may be harmful to surfaces.
  • Thoroughly clean all other affected hard surfaces, including walls, hard-surfaced floors and furniture with hot soapy water, using an ordinary household detergent. Allow to dry thoroughly as this will also help to destroy germs left behind.

 

For frequently asked health questions related to flooding, or general advice after flooding, see the links top right of this page.

John Ellis, Norfolk County Council’s, Chair of the Norfolk Resilience Forum Programme Board, supported the decision saying: "Thankfully, the second tidal surge this morning was not as severe as initially anticipated which means that people can now begin to return home to their properties.

"There may still be some hazards caused by flooding and we would remind people to continue to listen to the advice of the emergency services and heed the ongoing public health information to ensure that they stay safe.

"Support will be available for more vulnerable residents to ensure that they can return home safely. Plans are also in place to support anyone who is unable to return home due to the flood or storm damage.”

"Agencies are now at a stage where the emergency response to the flood risk is reducing with emergency services looking to hand over to local authorities as they help manage the aftermath. 

 

 

Previous releases

6 December 2013 I 09:02

With the tides in some parts of Norfolk yesterday reaching higher than in 1953, agencies are continuing to assess the impact the flood waters have had on homes, businesses and flood defences as they prepare for the risk of further flooding today.

The Environment Agency have confirmed that flood warnings have been reduced from Severe Flood Warnings to Flood Warnings, however the advice remains that people who have been evacuated should continue to stay away from their homes until they are told it is safe to return.

Deputy Chief Constable Charlie Hall, who is leading the multi-agency response said: "This has been a serious incident which could have been far worse had it not been for the support and cooperation of the public and all the agencies working to keep people safe.

"In places, water levels were higher than those experienced in the flooding of 1953, when many people lost their lives. Thankfully that has not been the case on this occasion, a combination of improved defences in place and the concerted efforts of the community, the emergency services and the agencies that have worked to support the evacuation and keep people informed.

"The widespread evacuation was based on the high risk of severe flooding and was essential in ensuring the public’s safety. A night time rescue operation would have placed both the public and emergency services at far greater risk.”

We are hugely grateful to the public for following the advice given and taking the steps needed to keep them and their neighbours safe. With two high tides still to come we would remind those who have been evacuated not to return home until they are told it is safe to do so.

 

Public Health Advice

Advice offered by Public Health Norfolk to those already affected by the flooding includes:

  • If you’re caught in a flood, do not consume food that has been contaminated by flood waters.
  • Do not let young children play in flood water and try to avoid coming into contact with flood water.
  • If you do come in contact with flood water, wash hands using clean water and soap and be aware of young children putting their hands in their mouth. Washing hands is the best way to get rid of bugs.
  • Keep in touch with elderly and vulnerable friends, family and neighbours in affected areas, ask about their welfare and offer assistance when possible.

Further health information and advice is available online from Public Health England

 

Facts and figures 

During yesterday and overnight:

  • Norfolk Fire and Rescue service attended 116 incidents including nine flood rescues.
  • More than 600 people have made use of the various rest centres around the county.
  • 10,000 properties were visited with residents advised to evacuate.
  • Highways have assisted with 21 fallen trees, 11 road closures and are currently assessing bridges in the west of the county.

 

A number of public services have been disrupted by last night’s high tides.

  • 23 schools and colleges are closed as a result of localised flooding or the risk of further flooding
  • Caister Recycling Centre is closed

For more information on service disruptions visit www.norfolk.gov.uk.

 

Road closures

Some localised road closures remain in place and Highways advise that some roads may not remain open.

  • West Norfolk - Bridge closures at Wiggenhall St Germans (due to cracking) and Purfleet Place (closed in both directions at the Customs House)
  • King’s Lynn - King Street is closed at the Tuesday Marketplace.
  • North Norfolk - Mill Common Road, Walcott Road, Keswick Road, Bacton Road, at the Lighthouse Inn, Walcott, Beach Road, at Cley, up towards Salthouse

 

We continue to advise people to stay away from the coast and coastal paths as these may be dangerous and Cromer Pier also remains closed.

 

6 December 2013 I 7.05

Although the first day response to Norfolk’s flood emergency has generally gone well, agencies are warning that the danger is not yet over with a risk of further flooding today.

Both fire and police are grateful for the mutual aid provided by colleagues from other parts of the country, many of whom will be back on duty shortly, as the flood risk enters its second day.

Further high tides are expected at 8am in King’s Lynn, 8.30am at Cromer, 8.41am at Wells and 10.44am at Great Yarmouth.

Tonight’s predicted high tides are: 8.44am at King’s Lynn, 8.36am at Cromer, 8.52am at Wells and 10.31am in Great Yarmouth.

Local authorities are stressing that this event is not over yet and there is a risk of further flooding, with particular concern in the Hunstanton area where some of the shingle bank has been swept away.

Emergency services and other agencies remain on the ground as they look to assess any damage caused as a result of last night’s high tides while preparing for subsequent high tides.

Some localised road closures remain in place.

  • In West Norfolk, bridge closures at Wiggenhall St Germans (due to cracking) and Purfleet Place (closed in both directions at the Customs House).
  • In King’s Lynn, King Street is closed at the Tuesday Marketplace.
  • In North Norfolk, Mill Common Road, Walcott Road, Keswick Road, Bacton Road, at the Lighthouse Inn, Walcott, and Beach Road, at Cley, up towards Salthouse are all closed.  The Poacher’s Pocket Pub, on the Bacton Road, caravans which were in the car parked have floated into the road, blocking the road all the way to Walcott Road.

 

Reports have also been received that Mundesley Cliff Vale Road car park has been washed into the sea. In Wells-next-Sea, the road from Northfield Avenue to East Quay is also blocked.

At the time of this press release being issued, there were no road closures in Great Yarmouth, but keep visiting this website for details or follow us on Twitter.

The message from all agencies in Norfolk is that there is potential for further flood damage during today, until tomorrow morning, and that people who have been evacuated should stay away from home for the time being.

More than 600 people have made use of the various rest centres around the county, and 10,000 properties have been visited with residents advised to evacuate.

People have generally responded well to following advice - but one issue of concern has been people out 'sightseeing' along the river banks in Riverside Road in Great Yarmouth, who have put themselves at risk by standing too close to the breaking waves.

Several Hemsby beach chalets have collapsed while in South Yarmouth, flood water has breached several terraced houses, despite sandbags being in place, with water coming through front doors and floorboards. The true extent of the damage is not yet known.

With further tidal surges expected, the advice remains that people who have been evacuated should continue to stay away from their homes until they are advised it is safe to return.

The emergency services, together with district councils and other government agencies, appreciate the good common sense shown by Norfolk residents at this difficult time and would wish to reassure people that all agencies are continuing to work together to keep services running as far as practically possible.

>> Flooding: Day one messages

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