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Police and council chiefs praise emergency response to West Norfolk flood crisis

Lynn's flood defences hold - but only just. The South Quay looking from Marriott's Warehouse towards the Boal Quay.

Lynn's flood defences hold - but only just. The South Quay looking from Marriott's Warehouse towards the Boal Quay.

Police and council chiefs have praised the officers, workers and volunteers who took part in Thursday night’s flood operation as West Norfolk was battered by what is widely thought to be the biggest storm surge since the 1953 disaster.

Lynn Police Station’s Insp Dave Buckley and Ray Harding, chief executive of West Norfolk Council, say everything went to plan on Thursday night.

Nine people received help from the rest centre which was set up at Hunstanton Community Centre, where they received warm drinks but did not need to stay the night.

A total of 30 full-time officers, supported by 16 special constables, manned road blocks in affected areas, distributed leaflets and helped to rescue people along with managing the usual 999 calls.

People in the surrounding communities also rallied around to supply officers with warm drinks and even places to warm up during the long cold night.

Insp Buckley has also praised the public for their co-operation, but said there was a small number of people who refused to leave their homes.

He added: “We were quick on the planning, the Environment Agency were very accurate and kept us regularly updated. There are a group of agencies locally who are used to working together and compiled a good plan.

“When it came to 5pm to 6pm on Thursday we were in good shape and we knew what we were doing and had people on the ground.

“All of the emergency services and staff from other authorities were on the ground in the areas that were dangerous.

“Everyone worked well in difficult conditions. But what was successful was the flood defences which have been invested in for the town.”

Mr Harding said the operation had gone better than expected with scores of workers, from the street team to emergency planners out on Thursday and on Friday morning.

He said: “The room on Thursday night was buzzing with people from different agencies. Everyone knew what they were doing and what they were supposed to do.”

Police, council staff and other agencies regularly practise the emergency plan throughout the year.

Council leader Nick Daubney said: “This kind of method of working with joined up thinking between the police, council and Environment Agency worked well and I congratulate everyone involved.

“A lot of people worked fairly hard in miserable conditions.”

 

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