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Moment that mattered: The evacuation of Moorland begins

A house near flooded village of Moorland in Somerset which is owned by Sam Notaro and who has built his own flood defences.

A house near flooded village of Moorland in Somerset which is owned by Sam Notaro and who has built his own flood defences.

“The water had been coming in slowly for days. Every day it got closer to the house. For a long time we still thought it wouldn’t come into the house: I had built it myself, on a plot that had never been flooded before. We were two days behind the rain, meaning that if it rained on a Monday the water would keep rising until Wednesday. At one point it was still raining and we thought, crikey, in two days it’s going to be at our door. So we built a little wall around the house. It was just a small one, a couple of feet high. But it kept on raining and raining, so slowly we kept building and building, until the wall stood seven feet tall.

For three weeks I didn’t leave the house and I barely slept. All I could see when I looked out in those weeks was water. It went on for at least ten miles. When I did get some sleep, I would dream about water. People who visited by boat couldn’t believe the wind and waves. It was like the North Sea.

My partner and children left, but my dad came to help every day. We had to reinforce the bank and pump out any water that had come in. The pumps would break, we’d have to fill them with diesel and move them around almost constantly. It was a complete nightmare 24/7. The most difficult thing was the lack of sleep. One day I just didn’t know how I was going to get through it. I was so knackered and the skin on my hands was split from heaving the sandbags.

I may have protected the house from the water, but life still hasn’t gone back to normal. Realistically, the aftermath will probably last another three months. My garden looks like a couple of bombs have gone off, it’s a mess everywhere. They’re digging up all the drains right now. There’s moisture throughout the house, so all the furniture is still upstairs and we need to paint everything.

Still, a lot of people are worse off. Many people in the village want to retire and cash in on their homes but now they can’t because nobody wants to live in Moorland any more. The value of houses here has decreased by at least 50 percent and insurance premiums will be colossal.

I’m sure the area will flood again, so I’m building another wall, further away. The Environment Agency doesn’t like the idea because it might mean that others get flooded instead. But I’m not seeing anything being done by the government. I think David Cameron stated at some point that money is no object, but apparently it is. So I’m going to protect the house myself.

I’m glad I saved our home, but I’m not sure if I would go through this again. It’s only a house – it can be replaced. At some point I was getting a bit too serious. It felt like I was fighting for life or death. But in the end, it’s not: it’s just bricks and mortar.”

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