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“People are really looking after their neighbours”: Hemsby community praised for response to evacuation

PUBLISHED: 13:04 18 March 2018 | UPDATED: 10:51 20 March 2018

A house in The Marrams, Hemsby, perilously close to oblivion . Photo: Mike Page

A house in The Marrams, Hemsby, perilously close to oblivion . Photo: Mike Page

Mike Page

The Hemsby community has been praised for its efforts to support those affected by this weekend’s coastal erosion.

People living in properties on the sea side of The Marrams in Hemsby have now been evacuated after stormy conditions battered the coastline. Picture: THOMAS CHAPMANPeople living in properties on the sea side of The Marrams in Hemsby have now been evacuated after stormy conditions battered the coastline. Picture: THOMAS CHAPMAN

Thirteen properties in The Marrams were evacuated on Saturday due to the risk they would fall into the sea.

A multi-agency response has been in operation over the last 24 hours, with councils and emergency services working together to keep local residents safe.

Cliff Jordan, Leader of Norfolk County Council, said he was particularly impressed with how well the community had come together.

He said: “Everyone that lives in the properties is safe but this is clearly a difficult time for them and it is good to see Norfolk’s community spirit in action.

“People are really looking after their neighbours. We’ve had The Grange offer up its holiday accommodation, Tesco providing free food and local people offering their holiday chalets to those who have been evacuated.

“The multi-agency response has also been excellent, with the county council, borough, parish council and emergency services all coming together to ensure people’s safety.”

A response centre has been set up at Hemsby Inshore Rescue Centre and is likely to remain in place for several days.

The Marrams remains closed to the public and people are being asked to avoid the area for their own safety.

The 15 residents affected are staying in alternative accommodation and Great Yarmouth Borough Council officers are working with them to ensure that they have somewhere to stay over the coming days.

Police are continuing to patrol the area and a cordon is in place, to try to prevent people putting themselves at unnecessary risk.

Jan Davis, Head of Resilience for Norfolk County Council, said: “This is a clearly a horrible time for those living in these properties and agencies are working hard to offer them support.

“We have tried and tested plans in place for emergencies such as these, which means people can be evacuated quickly and we can make sure that there is food and shelter for those who need it.

“The most important thing is people’s safety. We know some people might be tempted to come and have a look at what is happening here but the area is dangerous ad we would ask that people stay away - we wouldn’t want anyone to become an emergency themselves.”

Superintendent Dave Buckley, from Norfolk Police, said: “Officers are remaining at the scene for the protection of the public and we would continue to urge residents to avoid the area.

“If any residents who have been forced to evacuate their homes have left behind medicines or prescriptions that they urgently require, please call 111.”

Liz Hustler, Senior Coastal Operations Officer for HM Coastguard, said: “This is a multi-agency response and a local resilience coordinating group has been set up with the emergency services, volunteer organizations and local council resilience managers all working very closely together to keep everyone safe.

“Those occupants at most risk have been evacuated to the nearby village hall. There is a very real danger that the bungalows that have been evacuated may be swept into the sea.

“We are here to safeguard the lives of those that have chosen to remain in their houses to the north of those already evacuated. Many of the occupants have lived here for years so it’s very traumatic for them.

“We are advising members of the public to keep at a safe distance and let the emergency services do their work. We will be remaining on scene, alongside the Police for at least the next 24 hours to keep people safe.”

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