Flood victims facing long road to recovery

Pam Parnell, of Commercial Street, Todmorden, is facing a long battle to fix her home after it was devastated in last month's flooding.
Pam Parnell, of Commercial Street, Todmorden, is facing a long battle to fix her home after it was devastated in last month's flooding.

MORE than a month after flooding hit Todmorden, residents are still facing a long battle to rebuild their lives.

Many homes were affected by the flood on June 22 after torrential rain led to the River Calder bursting its banks.

Pam Parnell’s home suffered an estimated £38,000 of damage when floodwater engulfed her and other properties on Commerical Street.

“I have had the most awful four weeks of my life,” she said.

“I have not been able to replace anything yet until the insurance company decide when they are going to give us any money.

“We have no carpets. I have got a dining room table, a TV cabinet and that’s it.

“Food is kept upstairs because the kitchen is absolutely filthy.

“We can’t do anything until the house has dried out. It’s going to be another three months before we can get the house sorted. But we are in a better position than a lot of people.”

After battling with her insurance company for several weeks, she approached the insurance ombudsman.

She was later contacted by the insurance company saying it would accept liability.

“I was furious but the relief now is absolutely wonderful,” she said.

“The other problem I’m going to face now is when my policy is up for renewal. Are they going to say they are not going to insure me?

“I don’t see why householders should be penalised for something that’s out of our control.”

On the night of the flood, her eight-year-old grandson was staying with her.

“As I tried to move and save my belongings, he sat at the bedroom window updating me, saying the water was coming,” she said.

“He treated it like an adventure as any child would but I knew from past experience that we needed to move quickly to save as much as we could.

“He didn’t panic. He was a little star.”

She praised the Community Foundation for Calderdale (CFFC) for its support.

She applied for a grant to help towards the cost of getting her electricity back on.

“The Community Foundation for Calderdale have been brilliant. I think they are doing a fantastic job,” she said.

“But it shouldn’t be them having to do it. It should be the government.”

Colin Barlow, of Woodlands View, Charlestown, said it could be another two months before his home is back to normal.

“The ground floor was flooded out,” he said. “We are having to replace everything.

“The kitchen has been taken out and the walls have to be re-plastered. We also need new furniture.

“I’m a pensioner and don’t need all this stress.”

CFFC has been contacted by many people seeking financial help to rebuild their homes and replace damaged furniture and equipment.

So far, a total of £26,095 from the flood relief fund has been given to flood victims in Todmorden.

Emma Bolger, from CFFC, said: “We will do all we can to support them through this difficult time and make sure everyone is aware that they can apply to this fund.”

CFFC’s flood relief fund has reached £125,000.

Donations can still be made by visiting www.localgiving.com/cffc.