Animal hospital hit by flood

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Volunteers and staff spent this morning mopping up after an animal hospital in Whitesmith was hit by floods.

Torrential rain, which also flooded and closed a section of the A22, also flooded one-third of the East Sussex Wildlife Rescue and Ambulance Service (WRAS) casualty care centre.

“When we arrived in the morning we were greeted by water in our reception, our assessment room, casualty room 2 and 3, and along one of the corridors,” said weekend casualty manager Chris Riddington.

“This has come just at the wrong time for us as we are virtually full with over 230 casualties currently in care – so are volunteers are already having to work extremely hard on their feed and clean shifts without having to mop and clean up this as well.”

WRAS founder Trevor Weeks said a Sussex Police road block had prevented many volunteers and staff getting to the centre, although he said they could have done so without driving through floodwater.

“The situation was made but worse by Sussex Police refusing to let WRAS volunteers through to gain access to the centre without driving through the flooding,” he said.

Photos provided by East Sussex WRAS

Photos provided by East Sussex WRAS

“I spoke to Sussex Police and was told in no uncertain terms that they would not let anyone through to the centre. The road block was a mile away from our centre and there are many houses and businesses unnecessarily affected as a result.

“Luckily we had some volunteers who managed to gain access before the police attended, helping to prevent us from being in breach of animal welfare laws. As a result we have not been able to send any ambulances out or attend any casualties. This is daft as we don’t have to drive through the flood water.”

He said the charity has struggled to answer phone calls and deal with emergency cases, being unable to admit casualties whilst the clean-up operation was taking place.

“Luckily it is only ground water and came up through the floor. We have had problems previously and we have our own ground water flood defences in the building to help keep this sort of thing under control, but the severe weather with torrential rain was just too much.

“We have such a good team of volunteers and staff and they are working very hard this morning cleaning up and drying the place out and using dehumidifiers. Some of our volunteers had problems trying to get past the road closures once the police were in attendance which didn’t help.”

East Sussex WRAS is asking people to bear with them because of the flooding and because of how busy they are.

“We have over 230 casualties in care at the moment, so we are now very limited on what we can take in, but this changes on a daily basis as more and more casualties are released. This is the busiest time of year for us and any help with donations and funding would be really appreciated,” said Trevor.

For more information on the work of the charity, or to donate, visit: http://wildlifeambulance.org/ or by call 01825 873003.

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