‘You don’t understand until it happens to you’

Jane Smeaton outside her Minton Road home which was flooded in June. She is currently living in a caravan in her front garden.

Jane Smeaton outside her Minton Road home which was flooded in June. She is currently living in a caravan in her front garden.

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A FELPHAM woman has joined the Environment Agency in urging residents to be fully prepared for any potential flooding – before it is too late.

Jane Smeaton, who formed the West Felpham Flood Action Assembly with her neighbour this year, was left devastated when the June floods forced her and her husband out of their home. The couple are now living in a caravan in their front garden.

“We have lived in Felpham for 16 years and have never been flooded. We never imagined it would happen to us,” she said.

“It is now filthy in the house, plaster has been stripped off, there is brick dust everywhere and some floorboards are up.

“You don’t know what it is like to be flooded until it happens to you. We were left completely devastated.”

The month of June was the wettest in England and Wales since records began.

Floodwater invaded Mrs Smeaton’s home and remained there for 36 hours.

“We won’t be back into our home until after Christmas,” she said.

“Fortunately, we were covered by our insurance. The damage will cost thousands.

“If you don’t have insurance, the cost could finish you off. It could absolutely ruin you.”

Flood resilience team leader at the Environment Agency, Nigel Sell, said: “Flooding can have a devastating effect on people’s lives. Being prepared for flooding could save your family, possessions and livelihood.

“Checking flood alerts and warnings on our website or signing up to the free Floodline Warnings Direct number would be a good step in making sure you are fully prepared ahead of any flooding incidents.

“There may be little or no warning of surface water flooding which can occur anywhere if the rain is heavy enough.

“We would encourage people to make their properties more resistant and resilient to flooding where possible. It is also absolutely crucial that people consider getting flood insurance and if they already have it, make sure it is the correct type of insurance.”

To sign up for Floodline Warnings Direct, call 0845 988 1188 or Typetalk 0845 602 6340. To check flood risks and sign up for free flood warnings, visit www.environment-agency.gov.uk/flood

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