Coronavirus confinement families forced to live upstairs only in “double hell”


Flood victims suffer from “double hell” after being forced to isolate themselves in damaged homes or forced to move into tiny beds.

Families in areas like Mytholmroyd in West Yorkshire were still reeling from the destruction of their homes when the coronavirus pandemic broke out.

Now insurance claims and construction work are all stopped and they are left “in limbo”.

Some live upstairs with little furniture and bare walls, while others have been transferred to temporary beds.

The city was hit by floods on February 9 after a month’s rain fell in 24 hours.

One of the people most affected by the floods was Topshop manager Hannah Flood, 38, who lives with her partner David, 38, painter and decorator.

She said, “It’s like we’ve been hit by a triple blow. Dave first broke his leg, then the floods, now the virus.

“We stay in a tiny studio while the repairs are finished. The bedroom is the living room and the bed is the sofa. We don’t have a garden.

“It’s pretty depressing and David can’t work yet and I don’t work either because the store has closed. I expect wages to drop.

“It is claustrophobic and it worries me. We lie on the bed because the bedroom is the living room.

“I miss the space. It’s okay for a week, but I don’t know how I’m going to get out of it if it continues. Whenever we think we have taken a step, something happens. “

Hannah Flood at home as she is now

The cash-strapped couple do not expect to get anything from the government for David, who became independent a year ago and has yet to make a profit.

Their former neighbor still lives in her house damaged by the floods but mainly stays upstairs because the walls are bare below.

Speaker Suzanne Stankard said, “First the flood, then the virus, what’s the next step? Locusts?

“It delays things like insurance regulations and working on our homes. The stress and anxiety of the flood was horrible. I feel very anxious and frustrated. I know it [self-isolating] must be done but we are getting back on our feet.

“Insurance claims were in progress, work was starting. Now everything is stopped and everything is in limbo. I’m waiting for insurance money.

“We cannot continue. It’s frustrating but you know there’s nothing we can do about it. It’s additional anxiety.

“Everyone is in a difficult situation. It scared us at first, but now we stay at home and watch over each other. We communicate every day through our group messenger chat.

“The Environment Agency is still working on the new bridge and the new wall, which we are grateful for, but the health of these workers must be a priority. “

Flood victims in the UK are in a similar situation. Vic Haddock spent £ 150,000 to start a vacation rental and canoe business in Ironbridge, Shrops – which flooded three times.

Calder Valley
Suzanne Stankard’s house as it is now

He said: “We have dried it again and need to decorate it and bring it up to standard, but we have reserved for most of the year. Now everyone cancels, so I have no livelihood. “

In the Yorkshire Dales, Lower Swaledale and Arkengarthdale, Councilor Richard Good said residents also face “double punishment”. They were affected by floods in July of last year, causing devastation.

He said: “We were hoping to have a good summer this year to make up for all the losses from last year.

“Companies didn’t have money from last season to transport them during the winter. Now, because of the coronavirus, they won’t have any money this year either, because people are rightly left out. “

Residents of Fishlake in South Yorkshire still have been unable to return home – almost six months after the November floods.

Glyn Davies, 64, and his wife Jo, 50, “have lost everything” and live in a caravan on their way. Repairs on their property were scheduled to begin on April 13, but the foreclosure put an end to the work.

Glyn said, “We are the only residents on our street – our neighbors are renting in another village. We are totally isolated. ”

Jo, a sales administrator, works from home.

Glyn added, “Jo sits on the dining table and works all day, then we put the table back in the evening for tea. We make the most of it. ”

Glyn estimates the cost of damage to their bungalow to be in the hundreds of thousands.

He added, “The water was about two feet high in the house. We lost furniture, sofas, beds, we had just installed a new kitchen which was lost. We managed to save some clothes, but that was it. “

Another Fishlake resident, Alan Buck, moved into a caravan on his neighbor’s road in December.

The 76-year-old retired worker has lived in his bungalow for 36 years.

Alan saved valuables and stayed with relatives before his insurance company paid for a caravan.

He said, “We have to do it, we have to stay inside and stay away from people to stop the spread of the virus.

“I have a lot to do to keep my mind occupied. It’s not ideal, but you have to do it. “


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