ANGRY residents from flooded villages packed into the public flood meeting in Huntworth to voice their frustration.
Around 300 people attended the multi-agency meeting at the Canalside Conference Centre in Huntworth on Wednesday, February 13, where the Environment Agency and other organisations were accused of letting the villagers down.
One person from Moorland during the meeting said: “We do feel we have been sacrificed. We all feel we have been left down. This should have been done weeks ago. This started around Christmas.”
The meeting was chaired by members of the Environment Agency, Somerset County Council, Sedgemoor District Council and Emergency services and the speakers were heckled frequently.
When the Environment Agency promised that sandbagging operations were in place, people from the crowd told them that it's too late because they were already flooded.
When Environment Secretary Owen Patterson's name was mentioned, the crowd started laughing and booing his name.
One man stood up, claiming he wanted to “defend” the Environment Agency. He said: “My mum was informed that she would be flooded 4 days after she was flooded.”
Further concerns were expressed about the security for the empty homes and difficulty using the police 101 number.
Superintendent Ian Wylie assured the residents that there are additional police resources to protect vulnerable communities and the communication problems would be addressed.
A spokesperson from the police press office said: “We have created a dedicated email address, firstname.lastname@example.org, where people can email any queries. This will be monitored 24 hours a day by the communication staff here at Taunton silver control.”
“We are also going to make sure the right number of officers are in the right place at the right times.”
There will be weekly drop-in surgeries with people from various agencies on hand to advise residents on how they can access help.
These will be held at the Canalside Conference Centre in Huntworth every week on Wednesdays between 6pm and 8pm.