Flood-Wood-famillyBLOGWe’ve all become accustomed to flood stories on the news – but one family’s heartbreaking story vividly demonstrates the human cost behind the headlines.

The coastal community of Walcott in Norfolk wasn’t just hit by last week’s floods: it was knocked for six.

The tidal surge brought crashing waves that devastated a caravan and chalet park situated on the seafront. It smashed down house walls, ripping out fences and tossing caravans about like toys.

For the Woods family, who live right on the seafront, things couldn’t have gone more badly. Their static home was completely destroyed – literally torn apart – by the rising water, and all their ruined belongings scattered throughout a nearby field.

‘Lost everything’

The bad news didn’t end there. Wes Woods and partner Helen Robinson had been unable to insure their home due to its location. Their outbuildings, which contained equipment for a business they had spent years growing, were also flattened.

Traumatised and exhausted, the couple and their two children (aged 12 and 9) suddenly found themselves homeless with only the damp clothes on their backs to their name.

As Wes Woods told a local newspaper: “We’ve lost everything; our business, our livelihoods. It was all smashed apart. Everything we own is gone.”

No clothes

But help was on the way. Our support in emergencies volunteers drove straight to the site as soon as it was safe, laden with food parcels, bedding and hygiene packs for all the residents.

Once they found the Woods family, the volunteers offered them shelter in a fire and emergency support vehicle so they could warm up, and have some food and hot drinks. They comforted the distraught couple and provided practical advice on the next steps to take.

The volunteers also tackled one particularly pressing problem: the Woods family desperately needed a change of clothes and shoes. (One of the children was still wearing their school uniform.) After taking a note of sizes, the emergency team quickly secured complete new sets of clothing for each family member.

Slow recovery

Four days on, Wes Woods and his family are slowly starting to rebuild their lives. The local council and newspaper have launched a fundraising appeal on behalf of local residents. The Red Cross is in daily contact to provide ongoing support. Some kind soul, hearing of their plight, has even donated a new static home.

And at the caravan and chalet park that was so badly hit, our volunteers are still providing food, clothing and information – and working with local charities to source replacement furniture for damaged homes.

It’s going to be a long recovery process. But with so much uncertain, at least the residents know they can count on the Red Cross to be there until they’re back on their feet.