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We are seeing the climate emergency at first hand, and not only this; we are seeing flooding as a social disaster, too. While furniture can be replaced and homes can often be repaired, it is the devastating human impact that flooding has on individuals, families and communities that has been most striking—everyday lives uprooted by flooding; families left in temporary accommodation; days of lost schooling; shops, cafés, businesses, the heart of communities, lost and submerged; treasured possessions ruined; and the fear and continual uncertainty each time the rain returns and the rivers rise. It is the human damage that remains.
I was out in my constituency late last Friday night as the rains returned. I saw properties damaged two weeks before by the floods and people up all night, although they were not flooded again. That anxiety, worry and stress cannot be undone. The next day, we held a flooding meeting for my constituents and the communities affected by the flooding. Many came from across the constituency concerned about the impact of the flooding. I was there mainly to listen to their concerns, to feed them back to the stakeholders—Natural Resources Wales and Dwr Cymru Welsh Water—and to find out what was needed and how much money it would take.
We owe it to our constituents across the country to address the environmental and social tragedy that we witnessed last week and two weeks ago and which we are witnessing time and again. We must mitigate the risks of climate change and the climate crisis. We should already be transitioning to a society, natural environment, infrastructure and economy that allows us to combat and reverse climate change, but the Government’s policies, including their austerity policies, have hampered that transition and our ability to upgrade our infrastructure to prepare properly for the future.