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Churches open up for flood victims

30 November 2012


Wading: fire-fighters make their way down a flooded street in Old Malton, north Yorkshire

Wading: fire-fighters make their way down a flooded street in Old Malton, north Yorkshire

CHURCHES and church halls across Cornwall are opening their doors to provide shelter and sustenance for people affected by some of the worst floods in living memory.

Speaking on BBC Radio Cornwall, on Sunday morning, the Bishop of Truro, the Rt Revd Tim Thornton, said: "We are tied into the emergency networks."

Particularly hard-hit were communities in Newlyn, near Penzance, Polperro, Helston, Perranporth, Mevagissey, and Millbrook.

The Vicar of St John the Baptist with Millbrook, the Revd Michael Brown, said on Tuesday that the basement of All Saints', Millbrook, had flooded three times during the past week. The area had not been affected by flooding since a dam was built, he said, but the water had "taken out a 15-foot wall in front of the church" and flooded shops and homes. It was "really was quite devastating".

The diocese of Exeter has issued a prayer for those affected by flooding. The Bishop of Exeter, the Rt Revd Michael Langrish, said: "Once again, Devon has been hit by dreadful flooding - for many communities, this is the second or third time. . . We need prayers, not only for the visible support services like the ambulance, fire and rescue, and police, who are under so much pressure, but also for all those hidden people in our communities who are doing so much to support those more vulnerable than themselves."

A claims consultant at Ecclesiastical Insurance, Sandra Cooper, said that the company had received six claims for church buildings, mostly in the south-west, some of which had been affected by flooding for the second time. The damage was "not fantastic", but carpeting and boiler houses had been affected. Ecclesiastical is employing legal representatives to investigate the causes of re-flooding: "Residents can then lobby for whatever changes are necessary to be protected."

Ecclesiastical would "encourage" churches to open their doors to people affected by the floods.

Worcestershire has also been affected by flooding. The Vicar of Evesham, the Revd Andrew Spurr, said that the church had been on stand-by to accommodate displaced persons. The flood co-ordinator preferred it to the leisure centre, "because we could offer 24-hour cover".

On Tuesday, an elderly woman was found dead in St Asaph, in north Wales, where about 500 homes have been affected by flooding, and water-levels reached up to seven feet.

The Chaplain to the Bishop of St Asaph, Canon Michael Balkwill, spoke on Tuesday of "the tragedy of seeing the devastation to people's lives and livelihoods".

Ecclesiastical has issued advice to people on what to do before, during and after a flood.



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Bringing Down the Mighty: Church, Theology and Structural Injustice
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