Providing Vital Flood Relief in Northern England

4th January 2015

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Storm Desmond struck the north west of England and the Sottish Borders on 5 December 2015, causing significant damage. An estimated 5,200 houses were flooded, the majority being in Cumbria. A major emergency was declared and by that evening, there were over 42 severe flood warnings meaning a danger to life.

Flooding caused by Storm Desmond is over twenty times the impact of the Somerset floods in 2013/14, and Samaritan’s Purse was quick to offer assistance. Our team made contact with Sandylands Methodist Church, and joined door-knocking teams to ascertain needs in affected homes.

Samaritan’s Purse Head of UK Disaster Relief Ian Macleod explains,

“Over the past few weeks we’ve been working alongside Sandylands Methodist Church to support their work in partnership with community groups, emergency services and local authorities in Kendal, going door to door providing practical assistance to families whose homes have been devastated. We are here to serve the community in any way we can to be there for people who’ve lost everything.”

Sandylands Methodist Church itself needed substantial deep cleaning so that it could be safely used for the community. The team also knocked on nearby doors to offer sandwiches and bread to local residents, and identified over 100 homes in the immediate area that had been affected by the flooding. Prior to the Christmas period, they also assisted an elderly home owner who was struggling to clear up and carried out some house relocations, including moving a young mum with two small children to a hostel. This particular family were eventually moved from the hostel to a temporary home which was completely empty, without even a cooker. These stories show the reality of disruption on individuals.

Then, just after Christmas, Storm Eva battered the country again. Kendal escaped further damage, and is now in clean up and recovery mode. Many people who left the area over the holiday period will be returning to face the horrors of the flooding, and the demands of the clean-up. However Yorkshire took the brunt of Eva on Christmas Day/Boxing Day.

Our team travelled to Shipley on 29 December to assess the impact – at one site, the water had been about 4 foot deep and the devastation to nearby caravans was sobering. We have been invited to work alongside Christian Life Church in Shipley following the flooding caused by Storm Eva, and a team of volunteers will arrive this coming week.

Samaritan’s Purse UK Executive Director Simon Barrington is urging prayer and support for this challenging situation:

“We appreciate your prayers as our teams continue to support families as they continue to get their lives back together. Any donations to our disaster response in the North of England will be greatly appreciated.”

Please pray:

  • For communities across the UK that have been impacted by the Winter Storms (Wales, Scotland, Manchester and Lancashire, Cumbria and Yorkshire). As families return home and process the reality of destroyed homes, pray that they will find help and support from the communities in which they live, the churches that are active in the area and local Christians.
  • For the chaplains and volunteers making up the UK Disaster Relief team in Shipley as they assess homes in need of flood recovery. Pray for energy for each member, that they will bond as a team, and that God will continue to open doors for ministry so we can serve Him effectively. Pray that they will carry with them the heart to serve and minister in the name of Jesus. Pray especially for the family members who are at home while the UK Disaster response team is deployed.
  • In Kendal, pray for Ian Macleod working with Rev Wendy Thornton and Rev Jonny Gios at Sandylands Methodist Church as the reality of those whose homes have been flooded comes into focus again after the holiday season. Pray for the church team to be able to reach out in Jesus name to those around.
  • For ‘open doors’ and clear areas of ministry as the UKDR team seek to build further relationship with local communities in both Shipley (West Yorkshire) and Kendal (Cumbria). Pray that there will be strong links built with those active in the community and that UKDR can support the good work already begun in helping those impacted both with the physical aftermath but also the emotional and spiritual aspects.

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