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Praise pours in for Suffolk’s storm stars

23 October 2023

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Praise is being heaped on Suffolk residents, farmers, 4x4 owners, volunteers, blue light responders, teachers and council staff for the way they dealt with the floods caused by Storm Babet.

Community leaders have expressed their gratitude for the many acts of heroism and community spirit that helped children get home from school, residents move to safety and protect buildings from the floods.

Friday and the weekend saw farmers in tractors and 4x4 drivers wading through flood water to rescue people, council and community volunteers setting up safe and warm rest centres for stranded residents, blue light responders battling through the elements to reach 999 callers and highways staff pumping water away from flooded roads.

Councillor Matthew Hicks, Suffolk County Council’s leader, said:
“Whilst some communities were relatively unscathed by Storm Babet, the destruction and disruption it has caused in many areas of Suffolk cannot be underestimated.

“I would like to thank the blue light services, highways and council staff for their hard work in such difficult circumstances. I would also like to commend the farmers and 4x4 owners who rushed to the aid of stranded children and residents and brought them to safety. But most of all, I wish to thank Suffolk’s wonderful volunteers and members of the community, who stepped up and helped each other. They demonstrated a truly special quality inherent in the people of Suffolk. 

“There is of course a lot more to do over coming weeks and months to support those who have been badly impacted, but I am confident that Suffolk’s community-spirit and commitment will help to get us through.” 

Councillor Caroline Topping, leader of East Suffolk Council, said:

“The impacts of Storm Babet have been felt right across East Suffolk and I am incredibly grateful to the emergency services for the way they responded to affected communities.

“I also want to thank my council colleagues and local volunteers who have gone above and beyond to take care of people who have been displaced, and are now tackling a mammoth clear-up task which may yet take some time. 

“Everyone has pulled together and this really is Suffolk at its best.”

Police and crime commissioner for Suffolk, Tim Passmore, said:

“I am truly heartened by the wonderful support the people of Suffolk have given to those who have found themselves in difficulty or distress because of the terrible floods we have experienced.
“My thanks go to all those who volunteered to help, and of course all those people in the emergency services, local councils and other public sector agencies and charities who collectively worked closely together in the name of public service. While the past few days must have been very alarming for many, it is extremely reassuring to see the communities of Suffolk pulling together so well once again in a time of need.”

Jon Lacey, Suffolk’s chief fire officer, said:

“Suffolk Fire and Rescue received thousands of calls for help during Storm Babet and our fire fighters worked tirelessly to rescue people who needed our help. The way partners in the Suffolk Resilience Forum came together – alongside members of the community – meant Suffolk rose to the challenge. On behalf of the forum, I’d like to say an enormous thank you.”

Deputy chief constable Rob Jones from Suffolk Constabulary, said:

“It has been a huge collective effort by members of the Suffolk Resilience Forum over the past few days to ensure the people of Suffolk were supported where necessary – their courage, professionalism, sense of community and compassion has shone through. This compassion has also been reflected in the wider community who have also shown great kindness and generosity in coming to the aid of those in need.  My thoughts also go to those who have sustained property damage because of the flood waters and I hope they are receiving the help and support they will continue to need in the coming weeks.”

The clean-up operation is already underway across Suffolk with street cleaning, debris removal and property clearance. The five district and borough councils are working to help residents and business to recover from the impact of the floods. Information is already available on their websites and further details will be released in the coming days.