It has been the wettest winter on record in over one hundred years, and the resulting floods have left homes devastated, transportation links destroyed and levels of dirty water and sewage up to 7ft deep. In response, a Facebook app was launched to help connect those most in need with the registered volunteers that are providing aid.
Storms in the South West left a section of railway in Dawlish, Devon, “suspended in mid-air” after a sea wall collapsed and thousands were left without power. Meanwhile, residents in Somerset have recently been able to return to their homes after nine weeks of deluge, where rubbish, belongings and parts of building were left strewn across properties.
However, severe winter flooding comes as no surprise for some UK residents. In 2012, parts of Devon, Dorset and Cornwall were affected by the deluge, causing hundreds of homes to be evacuated, and numerous bus and train services disrupted over the Christmas period.
As the water retreats, the clean-up operation is well underway. Hundreds of volunteers have descended on some of the worst hit areas to help victims of the floods’ devastation, while over 200 developers have worked closely to develop solutions that help the affected communities. The Facebook app was launched in February and has helped many affected by the floods find support.
Alec Muffet, a Facebook engineer, said: “Since Facebook reaches so many people in the affected areas, my college Pieter and I thought a newsfeed message to direct people to the flood volunteer website would be a simple way to help get help to people in need.”
Aid for flood victims has also come from more unexpected places. Hubert Zajaczkowski, 21 from Shepton Mallet, was the owner of a silver Seat Toledo, which became famous after it was filmed and photographed by international media following it’s abandonment on the flooded Somerset Levels.
Zajaczkowski said, “It was shocking, seeing my car on telly and in the international news. Everyone was taking about it, including the Prince of Wales.”
He has now decided to sell the flood-damaged car on eBay, with profits going to a charity that helps flood victims on the Levels.
Story and pictures by VITANEE OLIVER