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News | 20th February 2020
 

Devastating flood rages through seventy homes

 
 
 

River bursts its banks leaving residents wading through water up to their waists

THE worst flood in living memory hit Newcastleton last Saturday and several dozen homes were damaged by floodwater within minutes.

The village, which sits by the Liddel Water and also suffers surface water run-off, was
subject to a severe flood warning, issued by the Scottish
Environment Protection
Agency.
A combination of heavy rainfall during Storm Dennis worsened an already critical situation after the previous weekend’s Storm Ciara and melting snow on the hills, particularly in the Hermitage valley, added to their woes.
Some roads were closed and on the side road to Kershopefoot a fire crew from Carlisle was called to rescue a couple in a car which had been washed into a field, so strong was the current flowing across the road in front of the bridge.
On Sunday morning, which was dry and bright, residents in the street along the riverside and in those streets leading from the riverside to the main road had the heartbreaking task of pulling up carpets and other flooring and removing soaked furniture.
While many had floodgates, sandbags or wooden boards in their front doors, a lot of the flooding was caused by water coming in through the backs of houses and up through the floor.
There is much praise for those in the community who came to their neighbours’ aid, the community resilience team, the fire and rescue service and Council
workers.
Dr Howard Kennedy opened a rest centre in the community room at the surgery because the village hall was being used for a bowling tournament. Many decided to stay in their homes or spent the night with relatives.
A statement from the council said Newcastleton experienced some of the worst flooding in its history and the Liddel Water reached a record high.
The amber warning for rain, which was in place until 8pm on Saturday, brought a period of heavy rainfall and this, combined with melting snow resulted in a rapid rise in river levels.
Some river gauges showed a rise of more than 1.5m in fewer than three hours during the late afternoon.
About 15 people went to the rest centre and the council, fire service and police were all
deployed to help.
Inundated
Many homes were inundated with floodwater, with damage caused to roads as well.
The rest centre closed at about 1am and all residents either
returned home or made other arrangements.
Two people were rescued at Kershopefoot after floodwater lifted their car into a field.
A Carlisle East fire service spokesman said: “The river was in such spate conditions it was difficult to make that final jump across to get our hands on those people.
“We did consider helicopter back-up but in our favour the water levels started to drop.
“Thankfully, working with our colleagues from over the border, we managed to do a successful rescue.
“I really praise the crews who turned up; they readlly did work right to their limits to get a happy outcome.”
On Sunday the B6399 Hawick road remained closed all day while debris was cleared.
The Jedburgh road was passable with care. The road south was clear but motorists were advised to drive with caution.
The council, Scottish Borders Housing Association (SBHA) and Eildon Housing Association issued advice to all residents affected by the flooding.
An advice sheet, designed to give reassurance about the steps they were taking to help people, was distributed widely.
Council staff were deployed to tidy up streets and footpaths in the village.
This involved mechanical diggers and street-sweepers carrying out various tasks, including road-sweeping, cleaning gullies and minor road repairs. The council also placed skips in Union Street and
Buccleuch Terrace.
The SBHA sent teams to all housing association properties affected by flooding.
It co-ordinated the operation on temporary accommodation for all housing tenures.
The council has set up a dedicated customer advice and support service in the school where advisers are available.
People can also ring 0300 100 1800 during office hours for advice or in an emergency call the out-of-hours team on 01896 752111. There are updates at www.scotborders.gov.uk/ stormdennis

Rob Dickson, executive director, said: “While the rainfall on
Saturday was lower than the previous weekend, combined with the snowmelt and saturated ground, it led to a very rapid increase in river levels and significant surface water flooding.
“We deployed resources across the affected areas, providing sandbags and putting in place flood defences.
“We worked closely with colleagues from Police Scotland, Scottish Fire and Rescue Service and resilient community groups.
“This has been a very challenging period, especially coming just a week after a previous flood.
“We worked during Saturday evening and overnight to support the communities, understand the extent of the damage caused and develop recovery plans.”
He added: “We have taken forward an integrated recovery
operation with a number of partners to help communities.
“This has been an extremely challenging period, particularly for residents in Newcastleton who have experienced the worst flooding event in recent times.
“SBHA is co-ordinating housing support in Newcastleton and we will give as much support as is necessary to their teams and the residents they are helping.
“Can I thank resilient community groups in the Borders and our partners in the emergency services for their help during this incident.”
Julia Mulloy, SBHA chief
executive, said: “This has clearly been an extremely difficult and upsetting time for residents.
“We put in an experienced housing team to help residents who have been badly affected and will continue to support them as long as is needed.”

 
 
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