Over the last few days we have all seen the torrential rain and wind across the country and its devastating impact on local communities. Worryingly, these events are becoming more common. We are remember the floods from last Christmas and the pictures of people being airlifted to safety.
Often the images which stick in people’s minds are the actual pictures of the impact of the floods on people’s homes, power loss, rivers with burst banks etc. But what about the less visible impacts on communities.
One of the overlooked consequences of the flooding is the effect they have on the most vulnerable in society with the need for their ongoing social care provision. For example, floods can disrupt health and care services that older people rely on, either in the home or a care home, or in terms of accessing hospital services. The over 85 population, which is the group most likely to require care, is rising very quickly. In 2015 there were 1.6 million people over 85, this is set to nearly double by 2030 to 2.8 million.
Social care organisations have respond magnificently to the challenges by working closely with partners - emergency services, government agencies and the voluntary and community sector. In such circumstance social care provision is often provided around-the-clock in very challenging conditions. Additionally communities work tirelessly to help each other with a sense of community spirit. People give up their time, ‘get stuck in’, and use their own resources, to help people less fortunate than themselves.
For flood responses to be successful there needs to be close liaison with healthcare partners to prevent further vulnerability, roles of social care staff is a critical factor in response and aid recovery, and directors of social care must be involved in civil contingency planning.
Councils and partners have responded magnificently to the tough challenges, but there will still be a lot more hard work to come. The recovery process on people and communities is long and costly and there is no doubt communities will need more support over the coming months.
If you would like to share your experiences of the floods please do not hesitate to contact us on email ADASS.CentralMailbox@adass.org.uk