A small Serve On team made a big difference to residents of Coverack after the picturesque Cornish village was devastated by a flash flood.
We joined forces with our friends from Team Rubicon, The Royal Navy and Khalsa Aid, to help with the clear-up after storms sent a torrent of water down the main street, washing away part of the road and flooding properties.
The equivalent of one month's rain - 80mm - had fallen over Cornwall's Lizard Peninsula in just 2 ½ hours on Tuesday, July 18th, leading to flash floods which ripped up tarmac, cutting off the main road into the village and sending mud and water through homes, businesses and gardens.
Just two hours after the downpour, and with a deluge of emergency calls coming in, a major incident was declared.
The local council, the emergency services and the tight-knit community responded admirably to alleviate the worst effects of the damage, and locally-based companies provided food for distribution to residents as well as equipment to help to clear up the debris but, by the Friday morning it was clear there was still much work to be done.
Six members of the Serve On Community Resilience Team from Salisbury deployed to support Team Rubicon UK, which co-ordinated the clean-up operation, alongside additional volunteers from the Royal Navy, based at RNAS Culdrose in Helston, and Khalsa Aid.
Arriving late on Friday night, the Serve On team promptly set up a Volunteer Agency Cell (VAC) from which to coordinate the aid effort and Serve On team Leader Craig Elsdon was soon able to announce: "We can provide VHF communications, mapping of the affected areas and, along with Team Rubicon, the manpower to clear out mud and debris which has damaged properties and to go door to door to check on vulnerable people."
Local resident Chloe Marsland, owner of the Harbour Lights Café on the beachfront, said: "The torrential thunderstorms were so localised over Coverack that hailstones the size of 50p pieces were falling and within two hours a raging torrent of water had hit the beachfront."
She said the local residents were very grateful for the help of the volunteers and impressed with the professionalism and co-ordinated efficient response of Serve On, Team Rubicon, the Royal Navy and Khalsa Aid.
While the residents offered their village hall as a base, and provided food for the volunteers, Chloe Marsland, who fed all the team on Saturday night, said: "I am proud to have had the pleasure of meeting such incredible people; people who came and restored faith in humanity to us all.
"I cannot thank Khalsa Aid, Serve On and Team Rubicon UK enough for all their incredible efforts. We will be forever indebted to you all. Coverack is now mainly re-open for business and the support we continue to receive is incredible."
Helen Littlejohn, who was part of the CRT group which went to Coverack, said: "Serve On would like to recognise the immense efforts of the local council, emergency services and local residents in dealing so rapidly with the floods."
The team returned to our HQ at Salisbury Fire Station late on Sunday night after an exhausting but worthwhile deployment. Well done, guys!