'Deprived areas more vulnerable to flooding,' Oxfam research finds

Farmer Elizabeth Crew.

Farmer Elizabeth Crew.

First published in News

A SOMERSET farmer has shared her experiences of flooding as research by Oxfam shows more deprived neighbourhoods are more vulnerable to the disaster.

Elizabeth Crew, of Moorland, saw most of her fields under water since November and was forced to sell her livestock before the floods.

She said: "At the end of December the floods first came and people started moving out of their homes in January.

“Our fields have been flooded since November. We sold our sheep, pigs and chicken in November and didn't restock as we knew it was going to be extremely wet.

“We had to move our horses to a nearby village and our lodger has had to move out for a few weeks.

“Luckily we didn't have to evacuate our home in February despite an urgent warning it would be flooded.

“If we had had to evacuate my family were going to have to split up.

“We were all extremely stressed and it was absolutely heart-breaking to see the flood-waters in the village.”

While many of the homes hit by the latest floods were not in the most deprived areas, the analysis shows almost one in five of the poorest 33% of neighbourhoods in England were flooded between 1990 and 2013, compared to one in 18 of the top 10%.

Sally Copley, Oxfam’s head of UK policy, programmes and campaigns, said: “Around the world, climate change is hitting the poorest hardest and we must make sure this doesn’t happen overseas or on our doorstep.

“Not only are poor people hurt most by extreme weather events, but they’re also most vulnerable to food shortages and price increases.

“In a world where one in eight people already goes hungry we can’t afford to put off action any longer.”

Elizabeth, her husband, Francis, and their four children are now back home, though many neighbours are still in temporary accommodation.

She said: “I think the bigger picture is about how flooding will be prevented in the future, and we need assurances that flood prevention will be taken really seriously.

“In the UK we need to reduce emissions and take any other measures we can.

“We have to adapt and we need to learn lessons from other countries that have already done so.”

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