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Wales ill-prepared for increasing flood risk due to climate change says Red Cross

05 Dec 2022 4 minute read
Fire crews help during the flooding in Ystalyfera which happened overnight from September 28-29. Credit: Alun Llewelyn

The British Red Cross has warned that Wales is ill-prepared for worsening flooding due to climate change, as the charity releases its report Every time it rains today.

The report highlights the low proportion of people who know how to get flooding information, understand their area’s flood risk or know how to prepare.

This is despite early warnings of potential floods this winter and in early 2023.

The report includes insight from a focus group in Rhondda Cynon Taf, alongside groups in Belfast, Hull and Glasgow.

Participants in Rhondda Cynon Taf previously experienced serious flooding during Storm Dennis in 2020.

Rhondda Cynon Taf has the highest future social flood risk under climate change of any local authority across the UK.

Polling accompanying the report showed that for Cardiff:

One in four (24%) know where to where to access information about what to do before, during and after a flood.

One in three (29%) have a good understanding of the flood risk of their area, whilst one in seven (15%) don’t know whether they live in a high flood risk area.

Over half (52%) of people feel their family would be unprepared for a flood, whilst three in five (60%) feel their community would be unprepared.

One in eleven (9%) don’t have home or contents insurance, whilst almost half (46%) don’t know whether their policy covers flood damage.

Four in five (80%) think we’re seeing more flooding in the UK due to climate change.

Prepare

Henry Barnes, Emergency Response Operations Manager, Wales said: “We’re calling on the Welsh Government and local government to work with communities to better prepare the public for flooding.

“We need clearer information on what to do before, during and after a flood and we need to ensure communities fully understand the risk they face.

“With more determined action we can help make sure people are empowered to cope with both current and future flood risk.”

“We need to listen to the testimony of the people of Rhondda Cynon Taf if we are to prepare our most at risk areas for flooding and for climate change.

“These people know all too well the cost of not being prepared for flooding. We must learn the lessons of Storm Dennis and apply them across Wales.

“I’m encouraged to see RCT residents appreciate the importance of a strong community in preparing for flooding and I’ve no doubt the area’s community spirit helped it bounce back from Storm Dennis.

“We must foster stronger communities across Wales to help them become more resilient to flooding.

“I’m delighted the British Red Cross will launch a new emergency response service early next year in RCT. The British Red Cross stands ready to help the people of Rhondda Cynon Taf should flooding come to their community again next February.”

Rhondda Cynon Taf flooding. Photo Yvonne Hodder

Chris Davies, Head of Emergency Planning and Response at the British Red Cross added: “Floods are one of the most serious climate-related hazards we face in this country. They can devastate homes, destroy irreplaceable and sentimental items, cost families thousands of pounds of damage and cause immense suffering.

“This research shows us that while most people recognise that climate change is increasing the risk of floods, they don’t know how to prepare or get information. Millions of people across the country are vulnerable, but only one in seven have taken steps to protect their homes.”

The British Red Cross is calling for changes to increase the UK’s resilience to floods, including:

Better use of future flood risk maps and data to help communities to understand their risk and take action;

Prioritised support for those communities and individuals who are particularly vulnerable;

Flooding information that is tailored to the needs of specific communities;

Support for people to get the right insurance against flooding;

Clarity on what actions individuals and businesses should take to prepare for flooding;

Improved engagement between local authorities and affected communities to support local action and build resilience; and a coordinated and comprehensive national approach and guidance to respond to emergencies, including floods.


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Kerry Davies
Kerry Davies
2 months ago

15% unaware of the risk seems a very low figure. Twice as high a percentage vote Tory and nearly as many (12%) couldn’t read any warnings anyway.

I.Humphrys
I.Humphrys
2 months ago
Reply to  Kerry Davies

People are overwhelmed by most things currently? This just piles on the load heaped at the back of their minds. Its up to any government to look after its citizens first, and not those elsewhere. Welsh Govs “foreign aid” .looks a sick joke.

Cynan again
Cynan again
2 months ago

I know this sounds fatuous, but having grown up in “the valleys”, those numbers don’t really worry me because TBH, if more than 5% of valleys homes got flooded, disUK would have bigger problems to worry about. Such as the tsunami that hit us, or that the entire of SE England was now under water.

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