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‘Everyone we contacted didn’t help’: Flood-hit residents confront environment secretary | UK News

A Nottinghamshire resident whose home has been severely damaged by flooding has confronted the environment secretary over the response of the emergency services.

Therese Coffey was visiting Retford which has been badly affected by Storm Babet with homes evacuated and train services disrupted.

One woman, who was forced to leave her home in the middle of Sunday night, was involved in a heated discussion with the minister.

She said: “When we were evacuated in the early hours of whatever morning we are on now, I don’t know what day it is, we were told to go to the leisure centre and it was shut.

“I sat for an hour-and-a-half in a pub car park in the dark because we didn’t know where to go because everyone we contacted didn’t help. Nobody replied.

“I phoned the police. They told me they couldn’t do anything. I phoned the fire brigade – they couldn’t do anything.

“They came 10 minutes later. The police moved my car, reversed it into next door neighbour’s car and left that…

“Then told us they could get us out. I had to get my 17-year-old daughter out in her bare feet because they wouldn’t help us get her out.”

Read more:
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Ms Coffey could barely get a word in before another resident said this was not the first time the town had been flooded.

“It flooded exactly the same as it did before…” he said.

“We were just left again. This is again, this has happened – us just left to our own devices.”

Flooding in Retford in Nottinghamshire
Flooding in Retford in Nottinghamshire

During the visit, Ms Coffey told reporters it may take “several months” for some people to move back into their homes.

Asked if she thinks the flood defences are sufficient, the minister said: “Well, I’m not a floods engineer, so I have to go on what the Environment Agency is determining in different parts of the country.

“But that’s part of the reason for the conversations with the chief executive who’s elsewhere in Nottinghamshire today.”

On Sunday night, two severe flood warnings were put in place around the River Idle, near Retford, meaning risk of death or serious injury, as water levels continue to rise.

It comes as police said the death of a woman in her 80s at a flat in Derbyshire was believed to be flood-related, taking the number of people who have died since the storm hit the UK to at least four.

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Derbyshire Police said a pensioner, named by family members as Maureen Gilbert, was found dead at about 10.35am on Saturday after officers, along with colleagues from Derbyshire Fire and Rescue Service and from East Midlands Ambulance Service, arrived at her property in Tapton Terrace, Chesterfield.

Her son Paul Gilbert told Sky News he found his mother “floating in the water”.

He said: “I did not want to find my own mum and I expected somebody else to have found her.

“I go through so many different stages, anger, upset, I don’t know. I can’t put it into words what it means at the moment.

“I came to the window behind you, forced it open and found my mum floating in the water.”

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