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Last Updated: Friday, 22 June 2007, 05:14 GMT 06:14 UK
Boscastle on alert after flooding
Boscastle river (picture by Hedley Venning)
Boscastle's river was swollen by prolonged downpours
Floods have hit the Cornish village of Boscastle leaving shops and properties under about two feet of water.

Cars have also been abandoned in the village which was devastated by flooding in 2004.

Cornwall Fire Brigade, which has crews pumping out water and helping residents, said the worst affected area was by the harbour.

Search and rescue helicopters from RNAS Culdrose and RMB Chivenor are currently on standby.

On 16 August 2004 torrential rain caused an estimated 440 million gallons of flood water to pour through the historic village, devastating many buildings and washing vehicles into the harbour and beyond.

I thought 'Oh God, here we go again'
Rose Martin, Boscastle resident

The Environment Agency said the flooding on Thursday had been caused by prolonged rain, which had now eased.

Paul Gainey told BBC News: "This is just surface water - there is no river water flooding."

Mr Gainey said residents were using sandbags to protect their properties.

Resident Hedley Venning said some properties close to the river had been flooded by up to 3ft but that the waters were starting to fall.

"The river is receding and most of the emergency services are going, so we're all relieved," he said.

"We thought this was going be part two. It was just a case of holding on and hoping for the best."

Fire Brigade in Boscastle
Cornwall Fire Brigade was called to the scene of the flooding

Another resident said: "It's a muddy mess - we didn't expect to see again."

Staff and customers at Clovelly Clothing on the harbourside were trapped for a time by rising floodwater before they were able to leave the shop.

Rose Martin, who lives at the top of the village, said she was worried the village was about to experience a repeat of the devastation.

"Our conservatory was really shaking with the pressure of the rain," she said.

"Exactly like it did three years ago and I thought 'Oh God, here we go again'."

The fire brigade said the river has not burst its banks.

Adrian Prescott, chairman of Boscastle Chamber of Commerce, said the situation seemed to be under control.

"There's a few [properties] which have obviously taken some flood water - there's a couple of businesses, one definitely that's had some damage on the lower level, and probably another one that's got water in it," he said.

"But I mean we're talking nowhere near the scale of last time."

Work carried out by the Environment Agency to deepen the river banks was praised by the landlord of the Riverside Hotel.

Peter Templar said: "The deeper river banks have made a tremendous difference and thank goodness the tide was out."

'Full alert'

He said most of the villagers had been on sandbag duty and clean-up mode.

North Cornwall District Council spokesman Mike Beckett told BBC News the situation in the village was being closely monitored.

"The rain appears to have eased off slightly and the river level is okay," he said.

Graham King from the local coastguard team said: "We're just being careful.

"If it started really chucking it down again and the river levels came up, obviously coinciding with a high tide, the river could back up and we don't want that."


VIDEO AND AUDIO NEWS
Flood water flows through Boscastle streets



SEE ALSO
Pumps approved for flood scheme
24 Oct 06 |  Cornwall
Boscastle gets 4.5m flood scheme
13 Sep 06 |  Cornwall
Boscastle flood scheme on display
15 Jun 06 |  Cornwall
Boscastle's mixed recovery
18 Aug 05 |  Cornwall
Village 'unlikely' to flood again
16 Aug 05 |  Cornwall
Boscastle applies for 2m funding
26 Jul 05 |  Cornwall

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