Somerset floods: The Moorland villagers 'staying put'

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Image caption Royal Marines were deployed to help reinforce defences at properties

During the early hours of Friday morning, rescue crews waded through Moorland on the Somerset Levels knocking on doors and urging villagers to evacuate.

Temporary flood defences protecting the village had breached as water levels overnight rose by one metre (3.3ft).

Owners of around 80 homes agreed but a handful of other residents chose to remain. Here, a few of them explain why.

Paul Clement, Moorland

"I would say we are in the top 20% of houses that will flood last, and therefore in the top 20% of houses that will drain first. So we are going to dog it out and see if we can get through all this.

We are currently moving anything that is valuable and sentimental upstairs and we are going to stay put.

The fire brigade came in at 02:00 GMT to tell us flood defences had failed in the village.

We may get away with it, we may not. It is quite tense but I am not scared."

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The Met Office has severe weather warnings in place for rain and wind in the region around Moorland

Jan MacEacharn, Moorland

"I'm not going. I've got a horse and nowhere to put her. I don't know anybody around here. My friend from the nearby village has arrived with her pets. Where can I go?

We're in a cottage and can't get our furniture upstairs. We were told by the Environment Agency staff that 'we've given up on Moorland, it's a lost cause'.

We went down to Northmoor pumping station to try and get more sandbags to try and protect our house a little.

Our village is mostly old people. We are still having to stick it out though. We have nowhere and no ability to move our horse to higher ground."

Nick Ball, Moorland

"We live on the edge of Moorland and the water is rising. We have got neighbours living with us with all their animals because they have been evacuated from their homes.

All we can do is sandbag the whole place up and hope that things work out OK for us. There seems to be only a handful of people remaining.

The people who do want to stay are determined to stay, including ourselves.

Our property is not quite underwater but the water in the paddock has definitely risen six or seven inches during the night."

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Image caption Around 80 properties in Moorland have been evacuated but up to 30 residents are staying put

Angela Greenway, Moorland

"Luckily we are one of the higher properties in the village. Our house backs onto the river but it is well managed at the moment so we are quite safe - but we are probably cut off.

I have just been down our road which has never flooded in the 11 years we have been here and it is flooded significantly. It is pretty grim but we are hanging on in here and we will stay until we really have to go.

Obviously we won't put our lives at risk or the people who would have to rescue us.

The fire brigade knocked at our door at 03:30 GMT this morning and told us to evacuate, which obviously was absolute panic. Not the nicest wake-up call.

We have spoken to three or four neighbours and we have all said the same - if we know we are staying we will look after each other, that's all we can do at the moment."

Jason Smithen, Burrowbridge

"My parents live in Moorland. They've lived there since 1975 and on Wednesday they were flooded for the very first time.

They are up to their knees in water. At their age they are just mentally and physically exhausted. I've never known anything like it.

They are still there and they don't want to leave. They don't see the point in leaving if they can put a couple more sandbags to stop the floods getting into the kitchen, but the rest of the downstairs is completely flooded.

I spoke to them yesterday and they just want to be there. If they go and stay somewhere else they will worry even more - that's their point of view basically."

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Temporary metal defences with sandbags breached overnight as floodwater levels rose

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