Wales

Storm Callum: Flood clean-up continues in Wales

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Media captionSome of the most striking images from the Storm Callum floods

Communities are surveying the damage as the clean-up continues following the worst flooding for 30 years in parts of Wales.

Many rivers burst their banks during Storm Callum, prompting Natural Resources Wales to pledge a review of flood defences.

Some people have been left counting the cost from damage in their communities.

And roads and rail services remain affected on Monday and there are several flood warnings in place.

A 21-year-old man was killed after a landslip and many homes and businesses were flooded as Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion and south Powys bore the brunt of the storm on Friday and over the weekend.

Natural Resources Wales (NRW) said 80 properties flooded across south west Wales and led to major disruption of businesses and transport across the whole of the country.

Operations manager Huwel Manley said action was needed to protect communities from rising water.

"There will be a large review about the flooding issues and flood protection," he said.

"There will be a lot of towns and communities calling for new flood defences who at the moment don't have that.

"There is certainly a lot of work for us, the Welsh Government and local authorities to undertake over the coming months."

NRW added while some communities were significantly affected, flood defences did their job for many.

First Minister Carwyn Jones said NRW's review will decide whether "there needs to be a rejigging of priorities in terms of where the work is done in the future".

He told BBC Radio Wales that money would also be available if necessary.

Environment Minister Hannah Blythyn said: "My sympathies go out to all those who have been flooded over this weekend and in particular to the family of the young man who lost his life as a result of a landslide.

"The full impacts of this flooding are still coming in, however we are also hearing reports of where our recent investment has prevented or reduced the impact of flooding."

She added she would make a statement to assembly on Tuesday with the latest update.

How bad was the flooding?

Image caption Surveying the damage... people return to Aberaeron harbour to start the clean-up

The River Teifi at Llandysul reached its highest level since records began in 1971 and the Towey above Carmarthen was at its highest since 1987.

In Abergwili, in the Tywi Valley, the flood gates were closed and prevented flooding despite the water level rising to within 180mm of the top of the gate, just short of the evacuation trigger of 150mm.

Nine boats sank at Aberaeron harbour due to the "tide and river fighting against each other", according to local man Stuart Evans.

He said Friday's bad weather stopped the boats, some costing thousands of pounds, from being removed.

Firefighters were called to Station Road, Llandysul, where about 60 gas cylinders had entered the Tyweli river.

Twelve properties were evacuated and 40 cylinders were retrieved. Officers and police monitored the river until the water level dropped and the cordons have now been lifted and people returned to their homes.

Image copyright Chris Gillibrand
Image caption The river is swollen at Llandysul

Meanwhile, Llandysul Paddlers Canoe Club and Outdoor Education Centre has suffered "extensive damage" because of flooding in the town.

Openreach said a number of properties in Llandysul were without landline and broadband services, and it was working around the clock to repair damaged cables.

In the Towy Valley, 93-year-old Dilys Pugh had to be carried from her flooded home at Pontargothi after she woke to find the floodwater around her first floor bed as high as the mattress, according to her son, Clive.

About 70 sheep are thought to have died after being "washed away" due to flooding at Pontargothi on Saturday, RSPCA Cymru said. About 35 other sheep had survived and were moved to higher ground on Sunday.

Image copyright Derren Jones
Image caption The River Conwy burst its banks in Llanwrst

Dan Yr Ogof dinosaur park in the Brecon Beacons said one of its 250 dinosaur models had been washed away from near the cave entrance, when a ledge it was sitting on collapsed. Staff have spent 48 hours looking for it in nearby rivers but believe it is somewhere between the caves and Swansea.

Alun Lenny, county councillor for Camarthen Town South and planning committee chairman, said once-in-100-year storms were happening more frequently and the latest was a "wake-up call" that action needed to be taken.

Carmarthen was a no-go area on Saturday night as the River Towy reached critical levels after breaching its flood defences, while the River Teifi reached record levels - more than 15ft (4.5m) on Saturday - which flooded towns like Newcastle Emlyn and Lampeter.

Carmarthenshire council said it had switched its efforts from emergency response to recovery, and put resources in place to collect ruined carpets, furniture and other waste, with cages and skips dispatched to worst-hit areas.

Dehumidifers have been provided to as many homes as possible and a hardship fund has been established for residents most in need of financial support, with officers visiting homes to help people submit insurance claims.

Image copyright Facebook/Riverside Cafe
Image caption The Riverside Cafe at Newcastle Emlyn in Ceredigion was overwhelmed as the River Teifi burst its banks

Radhika Kelly, who owns the Riverside cafe in Newcastle Emlyn, said the building had been wrecked by flooding which had damaged equipment and left a trail of mud.

"One minute I'm devastated the next minute I'm feeling positive because there is a great community spirit behind us," she said.

Fionna Ashman, owner of Lizzie's Barn Dog Sanctuary in Kidwelly, which has been repeatedly flooded, said: "We are going to have to build the land up around us."

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Media captionStranded horses rescued from flood water in Monmouthshire

How are roads and public transport affected?

Image caption Llechryd Bridge remains closed until a structural survey has been carried out

The A4042 between Abergavenny and Pontypool is shut in both directions at Llanellen in Monmouthshire after the River Usk flooded.

The A484 between Carmarthen and Cardigan is also blocked in several places - at Cenarth, Llechryd, Cynwyl Elfed and Newcastle Emlyn - after the River Teifi burst its banks.

Bus services are replacing trains services between Blaenau Ffestiniog and Llandudno Junction and Craven Arms and Llanelli.

Image caption Flooded fields in Carmarthen on Saturday morning

Valley Line services into Cardiff and trains on the Aberystwyth to Shrewsbury Cambrian Line are expected to run as usual after the tracks were cleared of floodwater.

But buses will replace trains on the Heart of Wales line between Swansea and Shrewsbury until Tuesday due to flooding in the Llandeilo area.

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Media captionCows wade through flood water near Llandeilo

Transport for Wales (TfW), which took over running services in Wales from Arriva Trains Wales on Sunday, have warned passengers services could be altered or run at reduced capacity on their first morning commute.

TfW said this was because "several trains have sustained significant damage during this storm due to striking trees and running through flood water" and passengers are advised to check before travelling.

Coleg Sir Gar in Carmarthenshire said its Gelli Aur campus is closed on Monday, also affecting its open evening, due to flooding in the surrounding area.

And the county council said school bus services would also be affected on Monday.

Clean-up work has been completed to the boardwalk at Cardiff Bay after the water level rose above 5m, spilling over into Mermaid Quay.

Environment Minister Hannah Blythyn praised the work of emergency services and others dealing with the floods and the clean-up work.

She added: "Over this government term we will provide over £350m investment across Wales to local authorities and Natural Resources Wales to reduce the risk of flooding and coastal erosion."

Welsh Conservatives' environment spokesman Andrew RT Davies said: "As ever, lessons must be learnt from the devastation caused by these terrible floods, and those affected will want meaningful action from the Welsh Government - not just sympathy."


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