Hundreds of residents in a flooded village in South Yorkshire have refused to evacuate, saying they need to look after their properties and livestock after a lack of communication from authorities.
Nearly half the 700 residents of Fishlake have left the village since severe floodwaters inundated the area last week – but some of those left behind say they have had no choice but to stay.
Local business owner Louise Holling told Sky News that she simply can’t leave because no one would be around to look after her livestock.
We have horses, cattle, goats and sheep, she said. We’re a farming village…we need to stay here to make sure our animals are safe.
Mrs Holling went on to say her husband had spent the last few days wading in water up to the chest in order to keep moving the petrified animals to drier ground, and to look for dry food.
Their 11 cows had been moved to three different fields since Friday night, she said, and were now resting in a dry patch in her back garden.
But Mrs Holling added that while rescue teams working inside the village understood her reasons for staying, the local Doncaster Council and Environment Agency had not.
She said: We’re powerless to do anything… we’re not getting clear information from the council and Environment Agency.
There’s still no one on the ground telling whether they’ll pump the water out or giving us any forecasts.
It’s just, ‘we just have to wait and see.’
In the meantime, Doncaster Council says it has set up a centre in the nearby town of Stainforth for help, but says it will not have on the ground support in Fishlake due to the evacuation advice.
In a statement on Monday, it said: We can only offer dedicated support to people who are not in an area where there is a threat to life.
Meanwhile, another business owner who said her luxury spa had been destroyed by the floodwaters said that she had since taken on the responsibility of acting as a point of contact between the authorities and her community due to communication that had fallen down.
If I go, I can’t keep an eye on what is going on with my property, she said, adding: We need to fight for things to get done. Who else is going to do it?
We’re trying to coordinate everything… trying to keep communication links with authorities to translate back to the community.
Ms Webb went on to describe her heartbreak at seeing her business Truffle Lodge being destroyed in a matter of hours.
This is going to be a long, long process, she added, but said she was also extremely grateful to the people and the support offered.
For Mrs Holling, her concerns have now turned to the long term.
She said: We’re starting to panic about the long term situation… The stable block is underwater so we have very little dry food and water left….We’re feeding [the animals] sparingly.
According to Doncaster Council, floodwaters in Fishlake are not expected to recede for another 24 hours, and evacuated residents will not be able to return home for at least 48 hours, if not longer.