Looking back at the 2007 South Yorkshire Floods
OVER FIVE years have passed since the floods of 2007 and South Yorkshire Community Foundation looks back and reflects on what we have learned.
Disaster struck South Yorkshire when floods hit the region devastating individuals, families and businesses alike. People stood helplessly by as almost a month's rain fell in less than 12 hours, some managed to save a few possessions before the waters grew to high, some only able to escape with the clothes on their backs.
More than 5,500 households were affected by the downpour and many victims were left without a roof over their heads. As the situation grew more desperate, South Yorkshire Community Foundation sprung into action and within a day of the flood waters rising it had created the Flood Disaster Relief Fund. The Fund aimed to raise £500,000 to distribute to eligible victims of the flood in small amounts to help provide food, a few nights stay in a hotel or simply a change of clothes.
With the full support of the four local authorities and Radio Hallam FM behind them, SYCF soon had donations coming in thick and fast. Following support from The Star, BBC Radio Sheffield and other partners and supporters helped SYCF manage to exceed its target and to raise a staggering £1.67m with donations still coming in long after the flood waters seeped away.
It was because of this staggering generosity from the general public, businesses and trusts that SYCF could introduce another two stages of funding for long-term and more expensive needs. Phase two distributed money to victims trying to repair serious damage to their property and the third phase went out to the 830 worst affected household's still experiencing hardship a year on from the floods.
Five years have now passed since the floods crisis and the severe damage to not only property but to people's lives has been restored. It is easy then, to forget the devastation and panic the floods caused and even easier to think that it won't ever happen again but South Yorkshire Community Foundation has not forgotten and has learned from the disaster.
SYCF has established a sum of money ready should another flood hit the region so instead of being ready to distribute much needed money in days, it will be available instantly.
More importantly SYCF has also learned and will always remember that the community spirit of South Yorkshire is very much alive and well and will always be there as support in a time of crisis.