Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/792/17874
"Daddy, there's water on the floor"
Health workers and Socialist Party members Liz and Keith had their homes flooded out on 5 December in Rhyl, north Wales. Liz spoke to Roger Shrives about what happened:
I had a text at work from Keith saying we've got a flood. I rang him thinking it was a pipe burst. He said "there's water coming in the house".
We've got a three-year old son who said "Daddy, there's water on the floor". We thought he'd spilt a drink but water was coming up through the floorboards.
When Keith opened the door, water came rushing in. He turned the electricity off but within 20 minutes water was up to his knees.
He tried to grab a few belongings but our little boy and our dog were on the bed and he couldn't get out the front door because the fuse box was on fire, so he tried to put that out.
By then the water was waist-deep. Keith was met by the fire brigade who took our son off him.
Our neighbours were all in the same state and our friends couldn't come and help us because the area was closed by flooding.
When I parked my car, Keith, our son and the dog, shivering and wet, were with the fire brigade who were ready to take them off to a leisure centre.
We stayed with friends that night but then contacted the insurance company who put us in a hotel - we found half our street's in there! There were many vulnerable old people, some of them worried about their insurance. Many don't have it as the premiums are quite high.
There are some 'independent brokers' ie scammers going round the streets but charging people 25% commission!
We could be out of our home for months. Nearly all our furniture is wrecked along with the floorboards. So it's a question of drying out what's left and rebuilding the rest.
Despite years of cuts, the public services were very good. Within half an hour, the fire station down the road was ferrying people around. So were the police and the RNLI had dinghies.
Without them, people would have suffered even more.
The Citizens Advice service was also there. Housing people could tell us that our council tax bills were suspended as our homes were ruined. We wouldn't have known that.
After about an hour at the leisure centre, people who went there say, clothing and food started arriving.
The area had had experience last year with floods at nearby St Asaph. When we went back to our home, the electricity people were giving out advice leaflets.
The council are putting out skips and running normal bin services. The fire brigade are pumping out gardens.
The insurance companies are telling us to get accommodation which would be paid for. Local estate agents are not replying to calls, but a housing association with no properties available is trying to sort things out for us.
We are registered for flood alerts. We occasionally get amber alerts where they say no action is required.
But this time there was nothing. The size of the crisis was a bit of a freak of nature - some walls came down, the moon was causing high tides. The warm weather and high winds added to the problems.
Public services and public spirit saved the day. The firefighters were saying to everyone "are you all right?" and inviting my little boy to "come and sit in the fire engine."
People in the hotel are letting people use their laptops to sort out problems.
You sometimes hear the idea that people are "too greedy for socialism" but, except for the insurance scammers, events like this show people's public-spirited nature.
We need to fight to keep our invaluable public services and build on that good nature to create a socialist society based on cooperation not competition.
In The Socialist 11 December 2013:
International socialist news and analysis
Socialist Party news and analysis
Socialist Party reports and campaigns
Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition