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Last Updated: Wednesday, 18 August 2004, 19:53 GMT 20:53 UK
Prince sees Boscastle devastation
Clean-up in Boscastle
Residents have begun cleaning out their properties
Prince Charles has praised the "astonishing resilience" of the residents of Boscastle, which has been devastated by flash floods.

Viewing the clean-up of the Cornish village after buildings, cars and trees were demolished on Monday, he described the emergency services as "amazing".

When told about the people who were airlifted to safety, he said: "Thank God for the helicopters."

Nobody is thought to have died but the search for bodies is continuing.

Homes damaged

The damage caused by the flood is estimated at millions of pounds.

A total of 75mm - the August average rainfall - fell in two hours on Monday.

Prince Charles spoke to emergency service staff at Boscastle
I was absolutely horrified to see the extent of the devastation caused by the floods
Prince Charles

The sudden deluge caused two nearby rivers to burst their banks and a torrent of water to sweep through the village's main street.

"We watched the cars come down like a duck race, bobbing along," said Mary Sharp, 70, who lives near the harbour.

"The roar and the smell was horrible."

Early estimates of the damage were that three homes and shops were destroyed, eight remained in a "very dangerous state" and 50 vehicles had been written off.

Some villagers had been allowed to return to their homes for a brief visit about 48 hours after the natural disaster struck.

They came away with a few possessions and a feeling of greater shock at the scale of the destruction, BBC reporter Rajesh Mirchandani said.

On Wednesday evening, a small crowd gathered to sing in front of the Wellington pub, which was badly damaged in the flood.

The pub usually has singing nights on Wednesdays, and villagers did not want the flood to keep them from having their traditionally cheerful midweek get-together.

Charles 'horrified'

Prince Charles, who is also Duke of Cornwall, said he would make a "substantial donation" to help Boscastle residents.

Aerial photograph: See the part of Boscastle hit by the flood.

The donation is coming from a Duchy of Cornwall fund.

He said in a statement: "I was absolutely horrified to see the extent of the devastation caused by the floods.

"My thoughts and sympathies are with the people of Boscastle and those who happened to be visiting this lovely part of the world and who have all come through what was clearly a terrifying experience."

'Miracle'

Prince Charles was the second high-profile figure to visit, following Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott's visit on Tuesday.


He met with members of the rescue teams and visited the local GP surgery - headquarters for the emergency operation.

He also held a private meeting with residents in the village hall and was taken into Boscastle's pub, The Cobweb, where he was seen with half a pint of beer.

Police said it was a "miracle" that no-one appeared to have lost their life.

Animals were found safe amongst the debris
"Fortunately, we haven't found anyone dead or injured but we haven't recovered all of the cars yet, so we can't be 100% sure," said a spokeswoman for Cornwall County Fire Brigade.

More than 150 people were airlifted to safety - some from stranded cars, from roofs, and from trees where they had clambered to safety.

A 16-month-old baby had been put in a rucksack before being airlifted out of the area.

Devon and Cornwall police have set up an emergency phoneline for anyone concerned about friends or relatives - 08705 329567.

Have you been affected by the floods?

Or send your photos to yourpics@bbc.co.uk



BBC NEWS: VIDEO AND AUDIO
The BBC's Nicholas Witchell
"Teams of emergency crew are working almost around the clock"



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