Tuesday, 8 December 2015

The kindness of humanity surfaces in the latest UK flood disaster

The inherent kindness of humanity has come to the fore in the recent flooding disaster which has hit the north of the UK recently.

The true scale of 'Storm Desmond' is still to be fully realised as emergency services and soldiers from all over England continue to bring aid to those affected.

But in the worst-hit communities of Carlisle and Cockermouth, work has started closer to home. The BBC has reported hundreds of people working hard to help out. A Facebook group designed to bring together people who could help has already attracted 11,000 followers from as far afield as London, Wales and Belfast, and a team of 12 has been drafted in to help cope with the number of donations and volunteers.

Haulage company Eddie Stobart has offered free storage space in Carlisle to house the mountains of donations pouring in. The group has been swamped with offers of everything from nappies, kitchen utensils and generators to crates of water, toiletries, free furniture and a bed for the night.

It's 'amazing who you meet in these hard times,' wrote member Michelle Smith on the Facebook page. "Tonight I've given my bed up for two old age pensioners and even though they've lost basically everything they've had me giggling all night long. God bless community spirit, I am proud to be Cumbrian."

Catherine Clarke, who runs Cathy's Cupcakes in Broughton, was invited to join the group and the firm responded by delivering food and drink to people in need. "On Saturday, I went to the mountain rescue centre with 50 sausage sandwiches and 50 bacon sandwiches as well as 60 litres of homemade soup," she said. "But I'm not the only one, people have been out all night. Everyone's been trying to do what they can and all the little companies have been providing help to each other.”

Others have been spreading a little cheer by foot - Scott Murray donned his superhero suit and dished out chocolate and directions to the nearest rescue centre in Carlisle and Alison McKerlie is opening up her dance school in Carlisle to local businesses and has also offered free classes to children to keep them occupied.

The Met Office has warned that 'all the evidence' suggests climate change has played a role in the floods caused by Storm Desmond. It has also issued a severe weather warning for rain this week as northern England, Scotland and Northern Ireland brace themselves for more heavy downpours. Environment Secretary Liz Truss said the severity of the weather was 'unprecedented', with a new record set for rainfall over a 48-hour period - 15.9in at Thirlmere in Cumbria. The Met Office's chief scientist Dame Julia Slingo said the extreme weather conditions were 'extraordinary'.

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