I spent several months in London this winter and spring and got to experience a day out with the British Red Cross photographing a flooded area known as the Somerset Levels, about 165 miles southwest of London.
The Levels, one of the worst affected areas, are only about 20 feet above mean sea level. It took 12 weeks for the waters to recede. While the locals were arguing for the government to do more, the local Red Cross Fire and Emergency Support Service and Emergency Response teams, based in Taunton, Somerset, were providing practical and emotional support from the start. They performed welfare checks on residents, ensuring people were safe and prepared for the continued flooding. Throughout the disaster, they were delivering food, heating oil and other supplies to villages and farms that had been cut off by the flooding using all-terrain trucks – four -wheel trucks more commonly used in international disasters.
After working our floods here in the Southern Tier and Mohawk Valley, it was good to experience how the British Red Cross operates compared to us. While our methods in carrying out services and fundraising may be different, the important thing was that those affected got the services needed. As one person commented on the British Red Cross Facebook page: “Well done . . . more helpful than the Government!”
Click here for more from the British Red Cross.
American Red Cross of the Southern Tier volunteer Charles Haupt is a professional photographer who shot these photos while observing the British Red Cross response.