Wales flooding: Victims hoping for return to homes

About 1,000 people were moved to safety and 150 rescued

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Hundreds of residents and holidaymakers in mid Wales are surveying damage to their homes and caravans after being evacuated as floodwaters swept in.

About 1,000 people were moved to safety on Saturday, with an estimated 150 rescued, many from caravan parks.

Villages in Ceredigion were flooded by 5ft (1.5m) of water with record high river levels in parts of Aberystwyth.

First Minister Carwyn Jones praised the "impressive bravery" of emergency services.

Mr Jones added: "Working in truly harrowing conditions, they ensured up to 1,000 people were moved to safety."

In a statement, he said he was shocked at the damage and ministers would work with agencies to ensure normality returned to communities as quickly as possible.

Andy Francis, of Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service, told the BBC: "There's mass scale damage to caravan parks and indeed, more importantly really, to private dwellings throughout the area.

Start Quote

It's a miracle no-one lost their life”

End Quote Mark Williams MP Ceredigion, Liberal Democrat

"A lot of flood water's gone through them, leaving a huge amount of damage, and a residual danger as well from the biohazards, from sewerage, and other contaminants that have entered the waters."

Meanwhile, Ceredigion council has also issued advice to householders starting the clean-up operation.

There have not been any reports of anyone seriously hurt.

Debris

However, the Welsh Ambulance Service said one person had been taken to Aberystwyth's Bronglais Hospital on Saturday suffering from mild hypothermia.

On Sunday, Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service said 12 crews had been working in the Aberystwyth area overnight, although that has now been reduced to one which is continuing pumping water at homes at Parc yr Onnen at Llanbadarn Fawr.

Specialist pumping equipment was able to deal with 6,000 litres of water a minute.

Environment Agency Wales said one flood warning remains on the River Teifi, at Lampeter and Llanybyther. It is providing flood alert updates online.

Map of areas affected by flooding

It has also published river level reports showing the highest water level was recorded at Llangorwen in Aberystwyth at 2.05m (6ft 7in) on Saturday afternoon. Typically it is up to 72cm. However it has been previously recorded at 1.81m (5ft 9in).

Main roads throughout Ceredigion are now open and passable with care apart from the B4353 between Ynyslas and Tre'r Ddol which remains closed.

A section of the A487 north of Ceredigion remains closed at Derwenlas, according to the council which issued a statment on Sunday afternoon saying the "situation has improved considerably".

Worst affected

Caravan parks and villages near Aberystwyth were inundated by floodwater when twice as much rain fell in 24 hours than normally falls in the area in the whole of June.

The areas worst affected in the early hours of Saturday were Talybont, Dol-y-bont, Llandre, and Penrhyncoch - all in Ceredigion.

Machynlleth, in Powys, was also flooded and roads in surrounding areas were closed.

Dyfed Powys Police said they believed 1,000 people had been evacuated in total from Ceredigion and parts of Powys.

About 100 firefighters were involved in rescue efforts, as well as RNLI teams and other emergency services. Three people received treatment after sustaining minor injuries.

The flood waters in Dol-y-bont were filmed by Ian Smyth

The RNLI's flood rescue teams helped people to safety at Aberystwyth Holiday Village and rescues also happened at Riverside Caravan Park in Llandre, near Aberystwyth, Mill House Caravan Park at Dol-y-bont, also in Llandre, Sea Rivers caravan park, Ynyslas, and Glanlerry Caravan Park, near Borth.

More than 100 caravans and tents at the Riverside Caravan Park were flooded, according to the Environment Agency Wales.

Residents in 25 properties were evacuated in Talybont, and 10 houses flooded in the town of Penrhyncoch.

'Unprecedented'

Police said a bridge in Talybont and another in the village of Goginan had been damaged - but although inspections were planned, neither were thought to be in immediate danger of collapsing.

At one point, a helicopter winched to safety several members of a lifeboat crew who had got into difficulties after helping to rescue a disabled man from a flooded caravan.

RAF teams have been winching people in danger from the flood waters to safety

The Environment Agency Wales said the flooding had been an "unprecedented event".

Water levels have been receding, however people have been urged to stay away from rivers and flooded areas.

Ceredigion MP Mark Williams said community spirit had been at its best, with people offering help.

"Talking to some of the victims at the emergency centre, there are some really harrowing stories. People waking up at three o'clock of the morning in their caravans, with a torrent of water outside, moving very quickly.

"There's a huge tribute to the emergency services, who swung into action so quickly," he told BBC Radio Wales. "It's a miracle no-one lost their life."

A Downing Street spokesman said Prime Minister David Cameron had spoken with First Minister Carwyn Jones and Welsh Secretary Cheryl Gillan about the flooding and "offered his full support to all those affected by the extreme weather".

Ms Gillan said it had been a "very impressive" rescue operation "in horrific weather conditions and with unprecedented flood levels". Mr Jones gave his thanks to everybody who helped with the rescue.

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