Water, water, everywhere..

You would have had to of had your head in the sand (probably on an exotic island halfway round the world) not to have taken stock of our remarkably wet and gloomy start to the year. The media is flooded (no pun intended, oh well maybe a little one!) with pictures of fields turned to lakes, abandoned villages and the seawall at Dawlish alongside theories as to what is behind the unusually severe weather.  Topsham itself flooded last week though luckily a lot of riverfront buildings seemed to.escape with minimal damage. In fact the biggest casualty is the kids favourite park which is littered in debris and closed until further notice much to Sophia’s dismay.

These minor woes are insignificant and pale in comparison to the heartbreak of thousands who have lost their homes and livlihoods. I can’t begin to imagine what they are going through as they start the grim task of assessing what is salvagable (if anything) and building back up their lives. Never mind the fact that the forecast doesn’t seem to be improving anytime soon and water levels might still rise further.

Predictably accusations have started to fly as to which politician cut flood defence spending and whether this is a result of climate change or just some extreme weather, unusual but not unheard of. Whilst all of these are conversations that need to be had I really think it shouldn’t detract from the most important task at present of supporting those whose lives have been devastated, both practically and financially.

When I started to write this post I had intended for it to be a bit of a moan about the weather and talking about some of the activities that have saved our sanity as cabin fever has crept in (puzzles and playdough mostly for anyone who is interested). But I couldn’t write that post. It seemed just too selfish in the face of the bigger picture.

I got an email earlier from the campaign group 38 Degrees offering a way to donate online to a local community based charity in Somerset in order to financially support the flood victims.  Whilst I don’t usually respond to emails like that (our charitable giving tends to be more long term), I couldn’t shake the images from this article of an entire county under water and realised that although we can’t spare much we certainly can afford to give a little. And the more people giving a little, the more that can be done. Maybe you’ll think about whether you can sacrifice some small luxury this week in order to donate?

I’m being slightly inept at navigating their website so I’ll keep my ramblings short and sweet but leave you with the email they sent me and link to donate.

A lot of the UK is under water right now. And more rain is forecast. Homes, farms, and whole villages are ruined. Thousands of people are having a really tough time. [1]

On the ground, local charities are springing into action. They are pulling together emergency accommodation, pumping equipment, blankets and food. They are providing comfort and hope to communities in crisis.

The 38 Degrees office team have been in touch with local charities in areas hit by floods – charities like the Somerset Community Foundation, who are supporting flooded communities on the Somerset Levels. [2]

They’ve explained that 38 Degrees members could help with relief efforts across the UK by raising money quickly for the charities working on the ground. Any cash raised now could be spent straight away on help for flood victims.

Donations now will start helping flood-stricken communities within hours. So please can you help by chipping in to the flood relief fund?

38 Degrees staff will work with local charities around the UK to make sure your donation goes straight to the worst hit areas. Our donations will help families and communities get back on their feet as soon as possible.

Here’s what Mary Hancock, deputy chief executive of the Somerset Community Foundation, said:

“As a community foundation our role is to work with grassroots groups to make sure the relief money is going where it is so desperately needed. Donations from 38 Degrees members would be so valuable right now. We will work alongside 38 Degrees staff and our network of community foundations to rebuild flood affected communities.”

Here’s how donations from 38 Degrees members could help:

– Provide emergency relief grants to people whose homes have been flooded to meet the immediate financial burdens of moving out, pumping and drying, and emergency repairs.

– Help those who face additional financial burdens as a result of the flooding, for example through loss of earnings.

– Support local small businesses, charities and community organisations to ensure their survival and swift recovery. 

– Support counselling and community services to help people cope with the emotional stress caused by the flooding in the short and medium term.

Please can you chip in right now? Make a secure donation by clicking this link:
http:// https://secure.38degrees.org.uk/UK-flood-relief-donate

There are lots of big questions to be answered about how we can prevent flooding in the future. How can we do more to tackle climate change? [3] How can we improve flood defences? And whose responsibility is it to make sure this doesn’t happen again? But right now homes are underwater and families need our help.

Lots of 38 Degrees members have contacted the office over the last few days to say they want to do something about the floods. Sometimes helping means pressure on politicians to do the right thing. Sometimes, it means offering direct help. In this case, it probably means both – but let’s get started by getting cash where it’s needed this week.

http:// https://secure.38degrees.org.uk/UK-flood-relief-donate

Thanks for getting involved,

Becky, Maddy, David and the rest of the 38 Degrees team

PS: Here is a bit more detail on how 38 Degrees will make sure the money gets to those who need it most:

1. 38 Degrees staff will work closely with local community foundations in areas affected by the floods. These organisations have a track record of supporting local communities, and are already getting on with the job of helping those in need.

2. 38 Degrees will only pass donations on to registered charities – that means every penny spent will be subject to charity regulations and audited by the Charity Commission.

3. The office team will provide a report back to everyone who donates, detailing how the fund has been distributed.

If you can, please chip in here: https://secure.38degrees.org.uk/UK-flood-relief-donate

PPS: One of the things that’s being raised by flood victims is problems with insurance companies. Have you experienced any problems? If so click here:
https://secure.38degrees.org.uk/flood-insurance-companies

NOTES
[1] BBC News – Severe UK weather continues:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-26131604
[2] You can find more about the Somerset Community Foundation here:
http://www.somersetcf.org.uk
[3] 38 Degrees member Kevin Smith has set up a petition on Campaigns by You calling on the the Prime Minister to cut fossil fuel subsidies, not foreign aid, for flood victims’ relief. To sign the petition click here:
https://secure.38degrees.org.uk/cut-fossil-fuel-subsidies

38 DEGREES Registered Company No. 6642193

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