Emergency workers helping trapped residents
Comrie residents have been left “sickened” by flooding on Monday night.
Community council chairman Andrew Finlayson told the Herald that over 30 houses and “countless” gardens had been inundated by water from the River Ruchill, which burst its banks after heavy rainfall.
He said: “We understand that nowhere else in the county was similarly effected, so we are particularly aggrieved that the cause appears the self same shortcomings in flood management which we have highlighted to Perth and Kinross Council (PKC) on many occasions since a similar occurrence in 1997.
“Localised flooding often has a complicated genesis and we know the Ruchill is a fierce river constantly eroding banks and changing course but, following on from relatively recent detailed and expensive hydrology reports instigated by the council, we were assured matters were in capable hands.
“The jury is perhaps still out on the detailed reasons for this particular incident but the community can be assured that their community councillors share the anxiety and growing anger that such potential for devastation remains to haunt us.
“We ensured that PKC’s senior officer for flood prevention Chic Haggart along with a senior hydrologist visited the area on Tuesday to meet with us.
“Gordon McCartney marched them up and down the Ruchill and round the village to drill home the nature of the problem and they left under no doubt that we expect answers and solutions as a matter of urgency.
“We were pleased that our MSP Roseanna Cunningham was on the scene early the next day and we know she will take matters to heart.
“ PKC representatives have been asked to attend our next meeting on Thursday, September 13, when we expect some satisfactory prognosis and action plan to be outlined.”
Andrew added that residents of Carleton Place, the twin town of Comrie, had heard of their plight and are raising donations to help those affected.
“This touching act of solidarity leads us to likewise suggest that, if anyone here wishes to donate ,they can do so by giving to any community councillor and we will try to utilise any money to best effect though we do understand that, given the scale of the damage, any sums raised can only ever be trifling balm.”
Roseanna Cunningham MSP praised the work of those who came to the aid of those affected by the floods and the strength shown by the community.
She said: “The emergency services and council employees have worked hard to ensure that everyone who was threatened by the floodwaters was taken to safety and to do what could be done to protect homes and pump out the floodwaters.”
“The fortitude being displayed by those whose homes have been flooded is amazing. I feel for them and I hope that it will not take too long for them to get their homes back to a condition where they can move back in.
“I know a great many people will now have a lot of hard questions because this is an area which has had flood problems in the past.
“There is urgent need for an immediate investigation to establish the cause or causes of this flooding so that we can establish what can be done to prevent any repeat.”
A PKC spokesperson said: "“Council engineers visited Comrie on Tuesday following Monday's flooding. We have spoken with a number of residents affected and we will be carrying out exploratory investigations, working closely with SEPA. We understand the impact that flooding can have on communities.
"Council staff were in Comrie on Monday night to distribute around 300 sandbags to help protect properties and businesses, and were on hand to support the emergency services in their efforts.
"Our priority now is to look into why flooding happened. It's too early to conclude at this stage what the causes were. Flooding unfortunately is having increasing impact and effect across the whole country, and there will always be limits as to what individual councils can achieve in preventing it.
"It's important that councils and communities work together to reduce the risk of flooding where possible. We are currently making arrangements for weekly drop-in sessions to provide advice, information and support for affected residents. We will confirm the details of these sessions as soon as we possibly can. These will be run in conjunction with the Scottish Flood Forum. We would also like to hear from any residents with photographs, videos or eyewitness accounts of Monday’s flooding as this information would help us to gain a better understanding of what happened. Photos, videos or other information can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org. In addition, we are looking to support those affected by uplifting damaged goods and providing additional sandbags for community use.
"We would encourage residents to take advantage of these information sessions and share with us information they have on what happened."