Sheffield & South Yorkshire

Flood victims face 'disgusting' insurance assessment wait

Lesley Kelly
Image caption Lesley Kelly said she had sewage, faeces, dog poo and dirty nappies floating through her home

People living in flooded homes in South Yorkshire say they have been told they cannot clean up until insurers have assessed the damage.

One woman described conditions as "disgusting", adding she had "faeces and dirty nappies" floating around her house.

But the Association of British Insurers (ABI) said people should "throw stuff away that is a danger to health".

A number of people have reported insurance issues following the floods.

Hundreds of homes were affected across South Yorkshire, Nottinghamshire and Lincolnshire after torrential rain hit the region on 7 November.

Image caption Dozens of volunteers took part in the clean-up effort in Bentley with some travelling from Leicester to help

Lesley Kelly, from Bentley in Doncaster, said she had been told to leave her carpets and furniture in place.

"I had dirty faeces coming through, dirty nappies, I had dog muck on my carpet," she said.

She added: "They wanted me to wait with my children - we would have ended up in hospital because it's just disgusting."

Ms Kelly said she spoke to her insurers on Tuesday and was told assessors would arrive on Friday and she had to "keep everything down" until then.

Another Doncaster couple, who did not wish to be named, said they had been told to wait until Sunday to be seen by assessors.

Image caption An estimated 100,000 books have been destroyed at the Re-Read book scheme in Doncaster

The ABI has urged those affected to speak to their insurance companies and "throw stuff away that is a danger to health" but take photographs or keep samples for testing.

Some people living in towns and villages which had previously flooded said they could not afford insurance, including the occupant of a riverside caravan who said they had been quoted cover for £250 a month.

Claire and David Bryce, from Bentley, said if they wanted to make a claim they would have to pay an excess of £7,500.

In the village of Fishlake, Pam Webb is trying to reopen her spa business after learning she was not covered by insurance.

"Reality has kind of dawned this week, if you drive round the village there's just piles of peoples possessions and furniture out by the roadside - it's heartbreaking," she said.

"I've seen men who've been through world wars and they're crying."

Image caption Ice hockey players with the Sheffield Steelers have been in Fishlake helping residents with the recovery effort

Peter Pridham, warden at St Cuthbert church in Fishlake, believes about 27% of villagers are uninsured with a similar number facing issues with contents cover.

He added some houses in the village "will probably have to be demolished", while others could take a year to dry out. Some residents also fear house prices will drop.

"It's very hard for children who come back and find all their toys washed away," he added.

Grant Berry was planning to move out of the village before the flooding.

"We got our house in tip-top condition to put up for sale, we spent a lot of time getting it ready for sale and obviously we can't sell it now," he said.

Mr Berry said he was speaking to his insurers about renting a caravan to live in while the damage is repaired.

Image caption Allotments in the Hexthorpe area of Doncaster have been destroyed by the flooding

The Environment Agency said current estimates suggest 655 properties had been flooded in Yorkshire with more than 1,200 homes evacuated, mainly in Bentley and Fishlake.

It said there were currently 55 pumps in operation, pumping 15 tonnes of water out of the affected areas every second.

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