Wednesday, 9 December 2015

A community that should be proud. #CumbriaIsOpen.

As I'm sure you've all seen Storm Desmond hit parts of the UK this weekend. We're currently living in Carlisle which has been hit terribly by devastating floods throughout the city. Thankfully we haven't been flooded, but the waters came up to the end of our street and we were without power for a few hours. Massively lucky in the grand scheme of what has happened round the city.

8am Sunday. 
What I'm going to write about here isn't about how terrified I was when the rain wasn't letting up and I was checking the severe flood warnings religiously every hour to see if the red line had crept up our street yet, it didn't, it stayed just about 10 metres away, but rather I'm going to talk about how proud the people of Cumbria, and particularly Carlisle (because thats what I've been exposed to) should be about how well the community has come together.
We only moved here in July so looking as an outsider, I can't imagine how it must have been waking up on Sunday morning knowing that your city was under water again, or even worse, watching the severe flood warnings on Saturday and knowing that evacuation and losing so much was inevitable. Following what was happening on twitter there were preemptive offers of places to stay that would be free of floods, people offering comfort to each other and making sure people they didn't even know were safe. It immediately felt like a community gathering even on the internet.
When we got up on Sunday morning we could see the water from our bedroom window and despite it being 6:30am there were people everywhere looking to see how they could help. We were without power but thankfully we had running water. Sam went off for his 13 hour shift at the hospital which his fellow doctor left a flooded flat by boat to get to so he wasn't covering the wards on his own. So I was home alone with no power and no one around that I knew.
I was going to go round and offer hot drinks with water boiled on the hob but someone had beat me to it and there was a steady stream of tea being passed around the people stood looking at the damage and those helping that could, people who had electricity were offering to let others charge their phones to stay in contact with relatives and all the while twitter was still inundated with offers of help and places to stay for people who were stranded. It really was something that Carlisle should be proud of. There was massive devastation throughout the city and yet all people could think about was others.

I have since seen unbelievable offers on the internet of help. I'm linking some here in case anyone in need hasn't heard, and so everyone else can be as amazed as I am about the lengths people and local businesses are willing to go to.

Free hair wash and blow dry for anybody affected.
A rally for all builders/plumbers/electricians/plasterers etc to help where they can. 
Hairdressing seats and equipment for the hairdressers who have been flooded. 
Generous money donations.
Pet sitting. 
Restaurants and cafes taking food to the refuge and community centres. 
Carlisle football team helping those affected. 
Lots of cafes who weren't affected were offering hot food and drink to anyone out on Sunday and Monday.
And more than I could ever list throughout Carlisle and the rest of the county.

The floods around us looked devastating and seemed they wouldn't clear for days because of the huge expanse of water that just looked endless, lots of homes and businesses near us were flooded. I have been amazed at the clean up, in less than 24 hours this was the difference, and by Tuesday morning, only 48 hours after the flood, the road around us was open again.
3pm Sunday and Monday afternoon. 
This has really made me realise how scary nature can be, especially being new to the area and not particularly remembering the devastation in 2005 or 2009, this relatively small place has banded together so impressively and stood up to show that even in the face of such devastation they are proud to be Cumbrian and they will not be defeated. Shops are opening, people are out doing their shopping, neighbours are helping each other with the clean up and the small businesses are the ones offering whatever they can to help.
Be proud of yourselves Cumbria, I am feeling very grateful to be living here with all of you.

1 comment:

  1. I completely understand this. I live in York which was also hit hard. I was fine - again, like you, the river is at the end of my street but never reached my house. phew! A lot of houses and local businesses were in a really bad way; including one of the most amazing streets of independent small shops, restaurants & bars, and my beloved recording studio where I've made so much music and memories.
    I'm a bit cross at how the news coverage made it sound much worse than it was and now tourism in the city is suffering. York is open for business! Most places are on their way to being back on their feet and finding ways to make it work.
    I'm super proud of the people of this city and across the North who wouldn't let some pesky rain dampen their spirits!


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