'My son is still traumatised': Families' pain of flash floods runs deep
- Credit: Lena Choudary-Salter
Calls remain for Westminster Council to support residents whose lives were turned upside down by flash floods – with many still forced to live away from their waterlogged homes.
The scale of the damage caused by torrential downpours on July 12 saw hundreds of properties around Maida Vale ruined.
Thames Water and Westminster Council were criticised in the aftermath of the floods, and both have committed to reviews of their response on the day.
Approaching two months since the extreme weather event, many afflicted residents remain in temporary accommodation.
Asma’s council flat in Kilburn Park Road was ruined by the floods, and she now lives in a hotel in Kensington.
“My son started screaming and crying and said ‘we're going to have an electric shock, we're going to die.’" Asma said.
“I didn’t know what to do. I picked up mine and my son’s passports and we just ran out.
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“I feel terrible... I understand that it's happened to too many people but all of my belongings and furniture are gone. It’s only my clothes that survived, even my documents have gone.
“I don’t have any private insurance so nobody is going to help me with all of what I lost.”
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Asma added: “The fear is still there that it will happen again. My nine-year-old son is still traumatised.
“Whenever it rains he gets really scared and says ‘I don’t want to be in this country if it's going to be raining all the time because it’s going to happen again.’”
The Maida Vale mother welcomed the council’s “verbal” support – but said it needed to do more than “just the talking”.
Westminster's opposition recently called for residents to receive council tax exemptions, and for the town hall to exempt builders and tradespeople working on flood-affected homes from parking charges and skip hire fees.
A Westminster Council spokesperson said: “We remain committed to supporting everyone who was affected by the floods in July and ensuring residents get the help they need.
“We are providing council tax relief to residents whose properties are uninhabitable due to the floods.
“We understand how difficult it has been for many and our parking marshals are taking this into consideration in affected areas.”
Applications for council tax hardship relief, issued when properties are uninhabitable, can be made to email@example.com