Thousands cleared to return to their homes after evacuations

Terry Rawlinson and his son Jake, 11, put sandbags at the gate of their neighbours, Mary Powley and

Terry Rawlinson and his son Jake, 11, put sandbags at the gate of their neighbours, Mary Powley and Barbara Smith, on Pavilion Road, Gorleston on the morning of Friday 13th January 2017, ahead of the predicted floods. Picture: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: Archant

Thousands of people have been advised that there is no longer a need to stay away from their homes.

All partner agencies involved in yesterday's evacuations have agreed that those who left their homes are safe to return to them, following advice from the Environmental Agency.

It has been confirmed that the tides did not lead to any significant incidents, though some flood defences have suffered minor damage.

Emergency services will continue to offer assistance to vulnerable members of the community, with local authorities now offering transport and support for those unable to return to properties affected by flood damage.

Norfolk County Council's Public Health team and Public Health England is offering the following advice to keep you and your family safe returning home after flooding:

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• Take care with electrics and gas: do not switch on electrical appliances that have been in contact with floodwater unless a competent electrician has checked them, as there is a risk of electrocution.

• Keep children safe: keep children and pets out of the affected area until the clean-up has been completed.

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• Remember to wash your hands thoroughly after each clean-up session and always before eating or preparing food. Do not eat food that has touched flood water.

• Put on protective clothing: rubber boots, an apron and waterproof gloves. A standard face mask, such as those sold in DIY stores, is also a good idea if you are scrubbing, hosing or pressure-washing. Goggles offer added protection and they can be reused after thorough washing. Cover any open cuts with waterproof plasters.

• Using clean water, detergent, then a normal kitchen disinfectant, clean and disinfect work surfaces, plates, pans, cutlery, and plastic/glass chopping boards, before preparing food.

• Powerful disinfectants, such as strong bleach are not necessary and may be harmful to surfaces.

• Thoroughly clean all other affected hard surfaces, including walls, hard-surfaced floors and furniture with hot soapy water, using an ordinary household detergent. Allow to dry thoroughly as this will also help to destroy germs left behind.

Temporary Deputy Chief Constable Nick Dean of Norfolk Police said: 'Thankfully, the high tides passed without significant incident which means that people can now begin to return home to their properties.

'There may still be some hazards caused by flooding and we would remind people to continue to listen to the advice of the emergency services and heed the ongoing public health information to ensure that they stay safe.

'Support will be available for more vulnerable residents to ensure that they can return home safely. Plans are also in place to support anyone who is unable to return home due to the flood or storm damage.'

He added: 'I would also like to thank residents in those areas most affected for their patience and co-operation. I understand that our requests would have caused disruption to people but our overriding concern always has to be to protect people from the risk that the flooding posed.'

For general advice and public information after flooding, follow this link:

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