Get involved! Send your photos, video, news & views by texting WN NEWS to 80360 or e-mail us
Archive - Thursday, 9 November 2000
Find by date
Other ways to search
Also look for
FLOODS ROUND-UP: Praise for the heroes
A STROKE victim has heaped praise on her carers who failed to let the floods stop their daily visits.
Eighty-year-old Jean Stewart said the efforts of her carers, Sam, Dorothy and Kay, had reinforced her faith in people.
Her plaudits were echoed by Worcestershire County Council's portfolio holder for social services, Peter Pinfield, who said some staff had even used tractors to reach meals-on-wheels flood victims.
Mrs Stewart was struck down by a stroke 12 months ago and has been housebound in St John's since. She relies on the trio to help her with a range of chores three times a day.
"They didn't miss a visit once," she said from her Honeywood Road home.
"I think they deserve a medal. I have heard tales about other people saying they can't get into work but they have been brilliant.
"The floods have brought out the best in the people who have looked after me.
"They never moaned once. I have never known people be so kind. I have always had faith in people but this has reinforced it."
The three work for the Bloomfield Care Agency in Malvern.
County council chiefs have also paid tribute to staff following their success in providing services to the vulnerable during the worst of the recent flooding.
Only two per cent of all services were affected by the floods, despite the situation being the worst in 53 years.
During the first three days of flooding full home care was provided to almost 3,000 service-users.
Meals-on-wheels also delivered more than 750 meals to people in Worcester, Malvern, Upton-upon-Severn and Bewdley.
"I have nothing but praise for our frontline staff who have provided an exceptionally smooth service despite the most appalling conditions," said Coun Pinfield.
"Having heard stories of tractors delivering meals-on-wheels and home care assistants borrowing four-wheel drive vehicles to beat the floods, I sincerely hope their efforts are recognised and remembered."
Fears owls will starve to death
BARN owls are in danger of starving to death because widespread flooding is wiping out their main food source.
Rising river levels are depleting Worcestershire's short-tailed vole, shrew and wood mouse populations, forcing the owls to hunt on higher ground.
Vincent Jones, director of the Barn Owl Conservation Trust which works with landowners to increase nestbox numbers, said downpours and strong winds had already affected the 20 pairs surviving in Worcestershire.
The recent floods, he said, could be the final straw.
"The constant downpour of rain has created flood plains covering large areas of grassland alongside riverbanks and ditches," said Mr Jones.
"These lowland areas are of great importance to the barn owl and its prey.
"The small rodents they live on thrive in areas of damp grassland and hedgerows near to waterways. Many of these areas are now 5ft deep in water."
He said a huge number of shrews, voles and mice would have already perished.
"For the barn owl, this is a problem that will lead to food shortages," said Mr Jones.
"Without the prey it needs to survive on, this will inevitably lead to starvation.
"So far the news coverage has all been about people.
"I think the wildlife of Worcestershire deserves a look-in"
The Trust has pledged to launch an investigation when the water levels drop.
Known barn owl sites and rodent habitats will be visited, assessed and observed.
"Once we have made an assessment, we will start to look more closely at surrounding sites on higher ground where landowners could site nest boxes.
"It's a huge task and we're prepared to take it on but we do need financial support."
Nestboxes can be sponsored at the Trust's website on www.barnowl.org.uk
Police will tow your car away
VEHICLES parked illegally in St John's today will be towed away, West Mercia police have warned.
Traffic wardens have already been out in force to crack down on obstructive parking in Henwick Road.
Yesterday, a group of wardens was taken in a police van to patrol Henwick Road, which has been heavily congested this week due to the closure of Hylton Road.
They were out to ticket vehicles parked between police traffic cones or on double-yellow lines.
Heavy goods vehicles queued to squeeze through the stretch of road between the entrance to Oldbury Road and the YMCA hostel.
PC Mike Digger, West Mercia police's traffic management officer, urged motorists to "show commendable levels of tolerance".
"Public safety has been and will remain our priority," he said.
"We've asked nicely and it hasn't worked. So now we are prepared to be forceful and to tow away vehicles if necessary - it's not an idle threat.
"We've had complaints from the emergency services that they can't get through Henwick Road," added PC Digger.
Tickets were issued yesterday afternoon and the wardens were due to patrol again today.
Andy Walford, the city council's principal engineer, said the measures drafted by the South Worcestershire Emergency Services planning group had to be taken, regardless of how unpopular they were.
"One vehicle could bring Worcester to a complete standstill," he said.
Anger at firm over sewage
A CITY councillor has attacked Severn Trent for its treatment of a Worcester man whose home had become flooded with raw sewage.
Nazrul Islam says the water giant - which claimed it was unable to clear the sewage until water levels had dropped - could have done more to help David Morgan at his home in Diglis Avenue, Diglis.
Mr Morgan claimed in yesterday's Evening News the company did "too little, too late" after telling him nothing could be done on Thursday when the sewage entered his home.
"Severn Trent claims it couldn't do anything and had to wait until the water subsided and is only responsible for the clearing up afterwards," said Coun Islam.
"But I received a call from Mr Morgan on Sunday who was very distressed. I contacted Tony Audas, who is director of culture and community services.
He then contacted the company immediately afterwards and, all of a sudden, it sent a tanker straight to the road.
"The company knows this is its responsibility and I really don't believe the company would have done anything if Mr Audas hadn't been in contact."
The councillor, who represents the All Saints ward, said the sewage situation was "very dangerous" and added the water giant should be taking its responsibilities more seriously.
"I find this very concerning," he added.
Kate Cox, spokeswoman for Severn Trent, said the company had been doing all it could to minimise damage caused by flooding.
"We would refute these allegations," she said.
"Workers have been working flat out at all hours of the day with the Environment Agency and councils.
"But the main problem is when the drains are submerged everything in them is going to come to the surface.
"A problem like this is an issue for Environmental Health which is one of the many departments we are working with.
"We are stretched to our limits to ensure damage is limited."
Foster visits sewage-hit homes
FLOOD victims in Diglis whose houses have been swamped with raw sewage were today visited by Worcester's MP Mike Foster.
He was joined by representatives from Severn Trent Water and the Environment Agency.
Sewage has flooded into homes in the Diglis area as drainage systems are inundated with floodwater, pushing the waste matter up though the drains and into homes.
Cavendish Street resident Jennifer Jennings, whose house has been flooded for 10 days, said levels had risen since last night.
"I don't think you could print how we feel at the moment," said Mrs Jennings, aged 34, who has lived in the street for six years.
"Everybody thinks it's the river levels causing the flooding but it's down to the drainage system - they've ignored it for years."
Mrs Jennings said Mr Foster, who also visited those affected in Waverley Street, had been "exceptionally supportive".
"He's been fantastic. He especially wanted to see the flooding for himself. He was absolutely horrified at the extent of it."
Mrs Jennings said Mr Foster had offered to provide skips for the disposal of waste matter as soon as the flood levels allowed.
Rally cry to help defence
A RALLY call from Bewdley flood victims could help them land a slice of £51m set aside by the Government for defence barriers.
Householders affected by the floods are being urged to attend a meeting with Wyre Forest MP David Lock tomorrow to plot a way forward together with the Environment Agency.
The announcement of the meeting comes in the wake of more flood misery that looks set to continue in Bewdley over the next couple of days.
Mr Lock has been briefed by the EA about rising flood levels which are expected to peak at about 5.1m.
Although this is not as high as last week's flooding, it is still worse than the floods of 1998.
Mr Lock has spent the last few days meeting residents along Severnside North and South who have been the worst affected. "I am sorry to hear that more misery is on the way," said Mr Lock.
"Before taking any decisions to reduce the effects of flooding in the future, we need to discuss how local residents want to protect their homes against the increased risk of flooding.
"There are already plans to investigate whether it would be possible to install flood barriers."
Steve Morley, EA area manager, said it was important to move fast and grasp the opportunity of securing funding for flood defences. "If Bewdley is to be on the priority list we need to get going straight away," he said.
The meeting is due to take place at Bewdley Baptist Church, High Street, at 7.30pm, on Friday, November 10.