Page last updated at 17:24 GMT, Saturday, 5 September 2009 18:24 UK

Clean-up under way after floods

Police view the damage of a bridge that has been washed away during flooding in the Burnbank area on September 4, 2009 in Fochabers
Part of a bridge was washed away in the Burnbank area of Focabers

A major clean-up operation is under way in the north east of Scotland, after flooding forced hundreds of people from their homes.

About 450 homes in Moray were evacuated on Friday and residents spent the night in makeshift accommodation, after a record amount of rainfall.

With better weather and falling river levels, the clean-up got under way in earnest on Saturday.

But the authorities said it was unclear when people would be able to go home.

About 400 homes in the Elgin area and 50 in Fochabers were evacuated due to flooding around the rivers Lossie and Spey.

They spent the night in community centres, schools and with friends and relatives.

Adam MacKenzie was one of the hundreds affected as flood waters two or three feet deep infiltrated his home.

Burst banks

He said: "We've lost everything we couldn't lift upstairs, such as freezers, fridges, washing machines."

Environment protection agency Sepa said river levels in areas affected by floods appeared to have peaked.

It said the outlook for the next few days was an improving situation, with no significant rainfall expected.

A spokesman for Grampian Police said: "We have now moved to the recovery phase."

The force said some minor roads remained closed because of surface water.

A month's average rainfall dropped in a 24-hour period in Aberdeen and Lossiemouth.

It is the third major flood to have hit Moray in the past 12 years, and it comes despite the efforts of the local council to put in place better defences.

Washed away

Elgin resident Hamish Simpson said: "What do we do now? What is the council going to do? They've spent thousands of pounds on these flood alleviation schemes that they've got for council residents. Has that made any difference? No, because the water has come up through the floorboards and hasn't made any difference at all."

But Councillor Eric McGillivray said Moray Council was actively working to offer help to everyone affected by the floods.

He said: "We're trying everything in our power at the moment to try to alleviate the problems of everyone concerned."

A road bridge across the River Spey was swept away by the force of the water and the river burst its banks at Kingston, near Elgin.

Flooding also hit Aberdeenshire, with the Deveron overflowing on the Dufftown Road side of Huntly.

In Tayside, parts of the villages of Letham and Bridgefoot in Angus were badly affected, with several properties flooded with water a foot deep in places.

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