One collapsed propertyBen Kendall/PA Wire

The storm surge that hit the east coat of the country last night, brought severe damage to a number of towns along the coast. While the authorities said things could have been much worse, it will come as little comfort to those whose homes and streets were hit by flooding - and to the village which saw three houses washed into the sea.

So what happened, and what can you do if you are affected by flooding?


Washed away

The village left in shock this morning was Hemsby in Norfolk. The BBC reported homes were evacuated, and no-one was hurt, but during the worst of the waves, five properties were washed into the sea.

The bungalows were perched on a clifftop, and dramatic erosion by the sea saw the the cliff beneath them gradually washed away, before the homes succumbed and fell into the sea.

Locals rushed to help retrieve possessions after the homes fell, and formed a human chain to help retrieve what they could. One of the homeowners told the Daily Mail that once the danger had passed, the authorities had said they would sweep the beach to see if they could recover anything else.

The families are staying in emergency accommodation but some say they were not insured for coastal erosion, and have been left with nothing.



What can you do?

A combination of the storms and the surge have left thousands of people picking up the pieces. If you have been affected by flooding. Lloyd's Bank says there are a number of steps that you'll need to take immediately.
  • Ensure mains supplies of water, electricity and gas have been checked for damage by a qualified engineer before reconnecting
  • Dry out appliances that have been affected by water and ensure a qualified electrician or Gas Safe registered engineer inspects them before use
  • Open doors and windows to ventilate and dry out the property. Ensure the home has completely dried before attempting redecorating work
  • Contact your insurer and report any damage caused to buildings and/or contents as soon as possible
  • Take photographs of damaged items as it may help your insurer to settle a claim
  • Keep any ruined property as insurers may want to inspect it.

Prepare

It's also a useful time to consider whether you are prepared in the event of a flood. Even if you do not live near the coast or a river there's an increased risk of flooding from surface water after heavy rains, so it's worth being prepared.

It makes sense to keep a home emergency kit prepared in case of a winter emergency such as a flood or severe storm. This could include sandbags, torches, spare bulbs and batteries, your home insurance documents, other emergency contact details, tinned food, warm clothing and blankets.

The Environment Agency says it's also vital to prepare a flood plan for what you would do in the event of a flood. It might include switching off appliances, moving valuables upstairs, and retrieving documents. Think about what would be at risk, make a checklist and keep it with your emergency kit.

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