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August 01, 2007

After the flood

Mausi's arrived in Tewkesbury last Saturday for another visit. The waters were already receding steadily but the Abbey couldn't be reached on foot on the footpath Mausi usually takes from The Monk's place until yesterday.

The waters are falling quickly now leaving behind mud and silt and smell...

Walking along there yesterday morning Mausi had a closer look at the devastation left behind. The grass will take some time to recover here. A distinctive smell like an outgoing tide hung in the air and masses of dead earthworms were lying around. Obviously during the high tide last week the locks on the Severn had been opened and the salt water had been pushed up all the way to Tewkesbury. Amazing!

In town people are busy clearing out and trying to dry the rooms where the water got into. Everywhere you see piles of destroyed furniture, carpets and other household goods. Some shops and restaurants are also badly hit. The whole floor had to be taken up in the restaurant where Mausi enjoyed here birthday dinner only last April. But at the least the weather forecast is good for this week, it's mostly sunny and there's even a little breeze which will hopefully speed up the drying process.

Seeing all the boats piled up on top of each other on the river Avon just tells you what forces have been at work when the floods reached Tewkesbury. But then the water had reached up unto that little bridge in the background.

River Avon with Tewkesbury Mill in the background

People have been doing a tremendous job around here. Apart from sandbagging their own and their neighbours' houses when the flood struck, hundreds of people had be looked after and cared for who got stuck in Tewkesbury Friday night a week ago and couldn't leave the town because all the roads were under water and closed. But since the middle of last week electrical power has been restored. And people have access to tap water again since the end of last week. Although it still not fit for drinking and has a greenish tinge to it when filling the bath tub, people can flush their toilets, take a bath and run their washing machines again. Outsiders can hardly imagine what a relief that is.

Having been through a few floods and discussions how close to the river buildings should be allowed in Germany as well during the last 10 years Mausi can only hope that British authorities will reconsider their plans of allowing buildings in areas which are in danger of being flooded. In Germany they've learnt it the hard way that you can't fence in water and even the dykes will give way at some stage. Now areas along the big rivers like Rhine and Oder have been turned into flood plaines where no building of houses is allowed at all. It took a bit of convincing politicians as for example at the Rhine Cologne usually gets most badly hit by the floods. Cologne is in the federal state of Nort-Rhine-Westfalia. In that state the Rhine runs along the famous Rhine river valley - no opportunities to have flood plaines there. So the flood plaines had be farther upstream in the Hesse and Rhineland-Palatinum although those states never had a flood problem. But for once common sense took over.

Posted by Mausi at August 1, 2007 06:18 PM

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