Last week London was hit by its third burst water main in a week, flooding a busy high street in Stoke Newington, forcing hundreds of residents to flee their homes.
Emergency workers and six fire engines and some 40 firefighters rushed to the scene to help evacuate around 150 properties including blocks of flats, and the around 350 residents that had to flee their homes. They also attempted to minimise flood damage.
A rest centre was set up at Stoke Newington Town Hall by the Hackney Council and residents were put up in hotels by Thames Water as torrents of water flowed down street. Previously in the same week, both Blackheath and Islington were affected by flooding from burst water mains.
Many residents were also left stranded in their flats.
Bob Collington, Director of Thames Water, said:
‘It has been an extremely difficult week and, having visited and spoken to a number of those impacted, I am personally devastated for those customers who have suffered flooding so close to Christmas. We are doing everything we can to help them and will make sure they are not left out of pocket for what has happened.”
“The bursts are a clear reminder that we need to keep investing in our ageing and sometimes fragile network, with many pipes in London well over 100 years old. I have started a full investigation into recent events to understand what has gone wrong and, as a top priority, will look at every single way possible to reduce the risk of any further disruption,” he added.
Crews made use of specialist inflatable boats to evacuate the most vulnerable residents and help others recover their valuables from their homes as well as from several basements that were under water. Sandbags were also used to try to minimise water damage and divert water away from homes and businesses.