Flood update: Aldeburgh prepares for evacuation with a sense of ‘stoic’ calm

Emergency flood  plans have been put into action before the tidal  surge that is due to arrive on the east coast tonight, Thursday 5th December.
The sea defences at Thorpeness have recently been battered by St Jude. Emergency flood plans have been put into action before the tidal surge that is due to arrive on the east coast tonight, Thursday 5th December. The sea defences at Thorpeness have recently been battered by St Jude.

Thursday, December 5, 2013
6:39 PM

An emergency response team met this morning in Aldeburgh to prepare for what could be the worst floods in more than half a century.

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Emergency flood  plans have been put into action before the tidal  surge that is due to arrive on the east coast tonight, Thursday 5th December.
Aldeburgh fisherman Dean Fryer preparing for the surge.Emergency flood plans have been put into action before the tidal surge that is due to arrive on the east coast tonight, Thursday 5th December. Aldeburgh fisherman Dean Fryer preparing for the surge.

Councillors, community leaders and emergency services left the Moot Hall confident they had a the “best possible resources” to protect the community.

Town clerk Ruth Proctor said the feeling in the town was one of stoicism.

“It’s about acting responsibly in times of potential adversity and trying to minimise the risks to the town and its residents bearing in mind its ageing population,” she said.

Coastguards patrolled the town at 2pm to warn residents of the dangers ahead and announce the plan of action.

Emergency flood  plans have been put into action before the tidal  surge that is due to arrive on the east coast tonight, Thursday 5th December.
Aldeburgh Coast Guard Jim McMullan on duty.Emergency flood plans have been put into action before the tidal surge that is due to arrive on the east coast tonight, Thursday 5th December. Aldeburgh Coast Guard Jim McMullan on duty.

Station officer Jim McMullan said his colleagues may be called on to evacuate those homes at greatest risk of flood when it reaches a head at 2.30am tomorrow.

“We will evacuate the town out to higher ground, working closely with the other emergency services,” he said.

Evacuees will be taken to the Church Hall where two electric generators are on standby to cope with any outages and the Plymouth Brethren will be serving refreshments.

There will also be 500 sandbags available for collection on a “managed basis” from the Church Hall.

“We’ve got sandbags, we’ve got power, we’ve got a number of vehicles we can deploy if need be,” Ms Proctor said.

“We are obviously hoping that it won’t come to that but we have to be prepared for every eventuality.”

Fisherman in the town have hauled their gear up the beach out of immediate danger and will be closely monitoring the situation as it progresses.

Dean Fryer, a member of Aldeburgh Fisherman’s Association, said conditions had grown increasingly squally while at sea this morning but seemed unfazed by the prospects of what was still to come.

“We just take it in our stride and do what we have to do,” he said.

“It’s not the first time it’s happened and it won’t be the last time, the main thing is to keep the gear up the beach.”

Coastal property owners in Thorpeness also appeared untroubled by what might lay ahead.

“We’ve lived here for 35 years and we’re still here,” said Shelley Cowlin.

Councillor Terry-Jill Haworth called on residents to look out for vulnerable neighbours.

Follow the EADT’s live link for storm updates.

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