Catcliffe floods: Mum-of-three separated from children and husband after losing home in Storm Babet 

Irreplaceable items belonging to the family have been lost in the flood, including photographs of loved ones to embroidered baby blankets.
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A mother-of-three has told of her heartbreak after being separated from her husband and children after losing their home due to floods caused by Storm Babet. 

Around 120 properties were evacuated in Catcliffe on Saturday (October 21), but the devastation of the floods was only seen on Monday as residents were allowed back in their homes. Many locals have been left outraged, claiming Rotherham Council promised that it would "never happen again" after the last serious flooding in 2007.

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On Saturday morning, Janine Hurst and her husband Jamie were told by police they needed to leave their house, and only had minutes to get themselves and their three young children, all aged under three, out the door.

Janine and husband Jamie have had to discard all their belongings on their ground floor due to water damage (pictured).Janine and husband Jamie have had to discard all their belongings on their ground floor due to water damage (pictured).
Janine and husband Jamie have had to discard all their belongings on their ground floor due to water damage (pictured).

Janine, aged 33, said: "When we got up, we could see what was a big puddle to start with at around 6.45am, and the next thing we know, we've got the police banging on the door.

"Trying to get three children who had literally just woken up and were all in wet nappies and pyjamas, and rushing around without being able to get them changed, was horrible, it really wasn’t nice at all."

They all went to Janine’s cousin’s house before the family had to split up. Janine and her three-year-old daughter, who has autism, are currently staying in her mum’s one-bed flat, while Jamie and the two youngest children are staying at his parents’ home in Sheffield.

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Janine, who is on maternity leave from her job as a mental health worker, said: "It’s heartbreaking. As a mum, your place is to be with your babies. It’s not nice to be away from them."

Upon re-entering their privately-rented home on Mappins Road on Monday, they found that all of their belongings on the ground floor had been ruined, including all their baby boy’s items, and irreplaceable photos including some of Janine’s brother, who she sadly lost to suicide.

Like many residents in Catcliffe, Janine and Jamie also did not have contents insurance due to difficulties securing it in a flood zone.

Janine said the family is taking it "day by day" as they focus on cleaning their home. Pictured is the bath still full of flood water.Janine said the family is taking it "day by day" as they focus on cleaning their home. Pictured is the bath still full of flood water.
Janine said the family is taking it "day by day" as they focus on cleaning their home. Pictured is the bath still full of flood water.

Janine said: "That's the reason why Rotherham Council promised that this would never happen again. 

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"Catcliffe is a village they’ve never cared about. I’ve lived here all my life, I’ve seen floods happen, and it’s always been the same.

"Walking into my house yesterday morning and seeing carnage, it was heartbreaking. Me and my husband both work, and we work goddamn hard for the things we had in that house. And now we've got to build it all back up from scratch. 

"The council could have prevented that."

The landlord is hoping to get the family back in the house in time for Christmas. Meanwhile the family is asking the council for help to find them a home together.

A number of residents are now calling on Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council to hold a public meeting. They want to know why this disaster was allowed to happen once again. 

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Council Leader Councillor Chris Read, said  “We understand the devastation this flood has caused to people in Catcliffe and the disruption it continues to have on their lives, and I'm angry and frustrated that they have had to endure this again. At the present time all our efforts are directed at supporting those affected and dealing with the aftermath.

"We simply don’t know with any certainty at this moment in time why the flooding was so bad in Catcliffe this week. What we do know is that the River Rother was at a record high level and that those high peaks are occurring more frequently than they did in the past.

"There will be a formal review over the coming months that will look at every angle, whether there were any failings by any of the agencies, and form the basis of recommendations about what needs to happen in the future. And of course we will want to discuss that with the community once those facts are in place.

"We do understand that this is no consolation to residents who are suffering this week, but our commitment remains to secure the funding we need to continue upgrading Rotherham’s flood defences and to do whatever we can to reduce the risks and to try to prevent Catcliffe and other communities from facing this kind of situation again."