On Wednesday 5th February, with rain and already severe flooding, many people were being evacuated from their homes on the Somerset Levels. But there were some who could not leave and required care and assistance from the Nursing staff of Somerset Care, who had to get there despite the wind, rain and flooding.
With many roads in the area impassable due to flooding, a 4×4 vehicle was needed to ferry the nurses to the homes of these elderly people. The Bridgwater RRT team were called at 3.30pm, asking if they could provide transport for two nurses.
A Land Rover Discovery with a couple of drivers was mobilised and the round trip of approx. 100 miles took just under six hours, taking the nurses to visit and supply the essential and needed care to seven homes. Without the transport provided by RRT – this would have proved an impossible task, short of going by boat! With the main A361 totally blocked by deep flooding, alternative routes had to be found. The journey included visits in Henlade and Creech Heathfield via a circuitous route, to avoid other closed roads at Creech St Michael which had become flooded by the River Tone.
One nurse needed to be collected from Stathe, on the Somerset Levels. On the previous day, her car had become stranded in the floodwaters when trying to drive to visits. So she had abandoned it and waded back home. Her house was on a flooded road next to the swollen River Parrett and was surrounded by flood water. Two fishponds in her garden had been inundated by floods and the fish had been floundering on the grass until netting was put up to keep them within the banks of the pond! Usually, her house has lovely views of the Somerset countryside across the River Parrett. On Wednesday the view was a muddy inland sea, dotted with submerged hedges and trees…
In one village in the flooded area, the PBCC vehicle was viewed with suspicion by local residents keeping a watch for looters, until the purpose of their visit was understood. Those still at home in the evacuated villages are keeping a watchful eye on empty properties for their less fortunate neighbours.
Both the nurses and Somerset Care were very grateful for the voluntary service provided by the team, enabling them to fulfil their duties of care on this wet and blustery evening.