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February 8th, 2014 |

Crisis On the Somerset Levels

Farmer Hayley Matthew reacts as she leaves her property in the village of Moorland

Farmer Hayley Matthew reacts as she leaves her property in the village of Moorland

One of our regular readers has asked:


Just wondered whether anyone reading online focus would like to donate to help deal with the crisis on the Levels.There is an immediate need to house and feed thousands of livestock . It is being coordinated from Sedgemoor livestock market in Bridgwater.There are several charities involved.

The National Farmers Union website says:

To donate to help farmers hit by the floods in the South West go to fcn.org.uk or call the hotline on 0845 367 9990.

You can also donate to @Rabicharity (website http://www.rabi.org.uk/) or the Somerset Community Foundation emergency flood relief fund

The Royal Bath & West Society set up The Somerset Levels Relief Fund in September 2013 with the aim of
raising funds towards dredging in the area. Make a donation on 01749 822200 or through their Just Giving page.

8 Responses to “Crisis On the Somerset Levels”

  1. 1
    The Mighty Oz:

    Here’s a mad crazy idea, stop sending millions of pounds overseas and spend it in the UK. If countries can afford space rockets then they don’t need our money.

  2. 2
    Jim Cripps:

    Good idea, I will support the Farmers Fund – but not the fund for dredging, that should have been done by the EA / government , would hope the PM’s pledge will now sort it.

  3. 3
    Christine Paine:

    Completely agree Oz. Just think of the amount of repairs to homes, relief payments to farmers and upgrading of flood defences that £11 or £12 billion could do. I don’t see the EU or anyone rushing to our aid with any sort of disaster fund payments, so lets adopt the idea of charity begins at home for 12 months.

  4. 4
    Chris Black:

    Christine , I see that the Lib Dem MEP for the South-West, Graham Watson, is working to get some EU funding for the flood damage:

    “Gloucestershire’s Lib Dem MEP Sir Graham Watson has continued the fight for the region to obtain EU funding to tackle flooding after meeting with the European Commission responsible for the EU Solidarity Fund. The news comes as an online petition to support Graham’s campaign reaches nearly 1,000 signitures.

    Watson met with Johannes Hahn, the European Commissioner responsible for administering the emergency fund. The Euro-MP has been given a reassurance by the Commissioner that Britain could apply for such funding, or utilise EU regional development funds towards flooding prevention infrastructure in the future.

    Watson will now continue to press the government to take immediate action, commenting:

    “After taking this issue directly to the man who is responsible for this emergency fund, I will now continue to lobby the government to see that action is done. It is time the UK Treasury and Owen Paterson come clean and admit that the government can apply for EU funding.

    “Whilst there are rules stipulating the size of damage in order to apply for national funding, there is provision to apply for funding on a regional basis and I have been given assurance that an application could be made for the South West.”

    http://www.grahamwatsonmep.org.uk/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=1676&catid=7&Itemid=216

  5. 5
    Christine Paine:

    That is interesting Chris, however, I assume that there is some sort of administrative approval process to go through before money would be released, and this would result in a delay, so even if the Government applied now the money would not be immediately available. The Aid budget is however our money and is here and available now, and these poor people need help now, our flood defences etc. need repairs now. If this were Bangladesh or somewhere money and various types of aid would be pouring into the country by now. We have to hope Insurers will pay for a B & B for people forced out of their homes or family or friends will take them in. This is spreading and is a national crisis with no real end in sight at the moment – I’m sure the people in Somerset for example would rather know their livestock was being fed and sheltered somewhere and that the biggest pumps money could buy were starting to remove as much water as possible from their homes than have yet another Minister descend on them to utter some more platitudes. If I hear “lessons will be learnt” one more time I may just throw something at the TV.

  6. 6
    Chris Black:

    Christine, I had a meeting over in Rochford today with the RDC engineer, to discuss flooding in a couple of locations , but I promise you the words “lessons will be learnt” did not pass our lips!

  7. 7
    A.mattbhews:

    Essex Young Farmers are organising lorry loads of forage from Childerditch to somerset .Essex farmers are delivering their donations to Childerdich ,where lorries take it on . Tesco have provided some transport .The situation is not short term as it will take weeks of pumping without any extra rain,then because grassland has been destroyed there will be hundreds of Hectares needing re sowing. Fodder will be neede through next summer and the following winter .

  8. 8
    Christine Paine:

    Chris – very pleased to hear that.

    A Matthews, that sort of proves the point I am trying to make. Farmers, businesses of various types, are going to need financial help for a year, eighteen months, two years. Insurance may not cover this. Homeowners may not get back into their homes for 12 months or more, especially if there is structural damage. Insurance may not cover temporary housing for this length of time. Financial help from somewhere is going to be needed, plus of course there are flood defences and various repair works needed for the future. I’m not saying we shouldn’t respond to disaster appeals in other countries, of course we should, but for one year only divert the “normal” foreign aid budget to looking after our own country.

    By the way A. Matthews, is there anything the rest of us can do to help do you know?

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