Kent County Council report says new flood warning system needed

Reflection of van driving past Christmas bauble floating in water More than 650 properties in Kent were flooded and over 28,000 left without power over Christmas

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Kent needs a more effective system to warn of impending floods, a report by the county council has said.

More than 650 properties were flooded and over 28,000 left without power over Christmas, with Maidstone, Tonbridge and Yalding being the worst affected.

The document also calls for better overall communications and improved co-ordination between agencies.

The report is due to be discussed by the Conservative-run council's cabinet later.

The Blue Anchor Pub in St Mary's Platt, near Sevenoaks, was flooded and left without power.

Landlady Rose Gill said: "We were supposed to be having a special family Christmas because I was diagnosed with cancer in August...it could be my last Christmas.

"We did have them here, we sort of had a meal but no one enjoyed themselves because it was so cold.

"We were going across the road, cooking the meal over there and walking it back over here.

"It was like a trail of ants, backwards and forwards across the road."

Man walking on flooded road in Yalding Yalding was one of the worst hit areas

Gavin Ritchie, from Yalding, and his family were rescued by a dinghy.

He said people needed information about when they should leave their homes.

"You have no idea and no one's telling us it's getting worse," he said.

"You're essentially left as a sitting duck with little or no time to actually save any possessions that you do have."

Mike Hill, cabinet member for community services, said: "Ten days or so it went on, and people were working unsustainably long hours.

"We'll at least look again at how we can bring in trained volunteers to supplement some of our work.

"That's one lesson I've taken away from it. The other was problems of communication, it was a particularly difficult time."

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