The torrential rain in January and February 2014 have led to severe flooding along the Thames Valley. While the river at Windsor has indeed burst its banks and flooded, this has affected only a small number of riverside properties. We in Windsor and Eton have suffered very little compared to surrounding villages . Downstream our neighbours in Datchet and Wraysbury have seen hundreds of families evacuated due to river water and flood water entering properties.
The relief efforts have included military, police, emergency services, volunteers and even members of the Royal Family. On 14th February Princes William and Harry turned up in Datchet to help shift sandbags.
In Windsor as the waters rose, businesses such as the cafe on Barry Avenue used sandbags to try to avert the waters. They were the lucky ones.
Politicians have been arguing over who is to blame with ire being directed at the government, Global warming, The Environment Agency and quite a bit of heated of debate over the role of the Jubilee river in protecting Windsor and Maidenhead to the detriment of our downstream neighbours.
The media have been out in force and a number of locals have become regularly featured on national television. The Prime Minister and leader of the opposition both visited Wraysbury to see the damage for themselves.
The yellow amphibious ‘Duck’ which had only just started working in Windsor offering tourist trips along the river switched operations and became a key element of the early relief effort in Datchet.
Collections of blankets, high visibility jackets, tinned food, torches, batteries, baby’s nappies, wetwipes and more started within days, but this is likely to be a long term effort and the needs of the poor people who have lost so much will change over the coming days, weeks and indeed months.