Residents of the floodwater locked community of Muchelney in Somerset have been helped by a new support boat provided by Somerset County Council and run by a crew from Devon & Somerset Fire & Rescue Service.
The flat-bottomed vessel was able to navigate sunken cars, trees and other underwater obstacles to reach the village of Muchelney from nearby Huish Episcopi, with priority given to people with health or social care needs. The eight-seater vessel made three trips a day to and from the island taking food, medicines and other supplies. Residents were also able to use the service to get back to work and to shop.
Where space was available, it was also available to help take the half dozen children remaining in Muchelney to the mainland and a drop point just a few hundred metres from Huish Episcopi school.
“We have listened to the community and provided this boat that I hope will be warmly received,” said Council Cabinet member David Hall. “For obvious reasons, this has to be treated as primarily humanitarian in nature. A lot of organisations have helped make this possible and my thanks go to them.”
Cllr Hall said the Council had stepped up its efforts to help people in their hours of need and announced £50,000 funding for flooding hardship cases and also £200,000 for community flood relief projects
"We have seen many people hit very hard by these floods. They have been described as once in 100 year floods but we have seen serious flooding now in the same areas for two years in a row," he added.
"We are working hard to support people and communities as best we can while operating under our own very challenging financial situation."
The Council would like to thank to all the organisations which have helped organise the support boat including The Canal and Rivers Trust, Bridgwater and Taunton Canal Volunteer Group and Maritime Coastguard Agency and The Wheelyboat Trust and Devon & Somerset Fire & Rescue Service for operating the service.