Flood-affected residents in East Yorkshire could spend weeks in lockdown in caravans and hotel rooms as coronavirus delays their return home.
Around 100 homes in Snaith and East Cowick were inundated after the River Aire burst its banks and spilled out of its normal washlands at the end of February.
And families who were forced out of their homes by the water could now face an even longer wait before they are able to repair their properties.
But the Rev Eleanor Robertshaw, the vicar in Snaith, said the community spirit, which saw teams of volunteers sorting food donations and filling and distributing sandbags during the flooding, was continuing during the coronavirus outbreak.
Rev Robertshaw, who has been a vicar in the parish for six-and-a-half years, said: “People yesterday were still collecting stuff to try to clear up their houses and I expect that’s got to be put on hold now, it will delay them getting back in.
“Anywhere the water came in, those people have not returned to their homes. They’re in rented accommodation, caravans or in hotels.
“Those in the hotels, they were all eating in the restaurants that were attached to the hotels but those restaurants are shut now and they have no cooking facilities in the rooms so I don’t know how they’re going to manage that.
“I know someone who is in a caravan with three children. Obviously, they can get out in the garden but it must be so hard.”
She added: “What else can be thrown at the place? It just seems so hard to have to deal with two things on the trot, really.”
The Rev Robertshaw said the coronavirus pandemic also meant that businesses in the town – which had already been closed for weeks since the flooding – would suffer even more than those elsewhere.
But she said the flooding had given the community an advantage as they were already prepared to help those in need.
She said: “It’s like we have seamlessly moved from crisis number one to crisis number two.
“The people who have been volunteering to help during the flooding have set up a community group offering help to those who need essentials.
“And while, obviously, we wouldn’t have wanted the flooding to happen, it gave us an advantage to be ready for this as we already had things in place to help people in that sense.
“It made us a more coherent place to be. It’s a wonderful place.”
The vicar added that residents were “trying to make the best of things” by keeping a sense of humour.
She said: “There are no words. I want to make it better but I can’t, that’s how it is.
“But we’ve just got to make the best of it and keep smiling.”
East Riding of Yorkshire Council has launched an investigation into the cause of the flooding and the actions of the agencies involved and has asked residents to share their pictures and videos.
Paul Abbott, head of housing, transportation and public protection, said: “We really want to hear from people affected by the recent flooding in the Snaith and East Cowick area – they may have photos or videos of the flooding and its effects, and we would like them to share them with us, or indeed any information that they feel might be useful.
“The investigation is an opportunity for the local community to get fully involved, and help to shape the final report which we produce, which will include recommendations for the future.”
We need your help to keep speaking the truth
Every story that you have come to us with; each injustice you have asked us to investigate; every campaign we have fought; each of your unheard voices we amplified; we do this for you. We are making a difference on your behalf.
Our fight is your fight. You’ve supported our collective struggle every time you gave us a like; and every time you shared our work across social media. Now we need you to support us with a monthly donation.
We have published nearly 2,000 articles and over 50 films in 2021. And we want to do this and more in 2022 but we don’t have enough money to go on at this pace. So, if you value our work and want us to continue then please join us and be part of The Canary family.
In return, you get:
* Advert free reading experience
* Quarterly group video call with the Editor-in-Chief
* Behind the scenes monthly e-newsletter
* 20% discount in our shop
Almost all of our spending goes to the people who make The Canary’s content. So your contribution directly supports our writers and enables us to continue to do what we do: speaking truth, powered by you. We have weathered many attempts to shut us down and silence our vital opposition to an increasingly fascist government and right-wing mainstream media.
With your help we can continue:
* Holding political and state power to account
* Advocating for the people the system marginalises
* Being a media outlet that upholds the highest standards
* Campaigning on the issues others won’t
* Putting your lives central to everything we do
We are a drop of truth in an ocean of deceit. But we can’t do this without your support. So please, can you help us continue the fight?