‘It was a feeling of terror: when will the water stop?’: Britain’s flood victims, six months on

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In the weeks before lockdown, thousands had their lives upturned as storms submerged vast areas of the UK. What happened next?

Emma Laughton’s memories of the days before lockdown may not be like yours. When the shops and supermarkets around her home in east Yorkshire overflowed with people in search of essentials, she was trying to furnish a caravan. “Everyone was fighting over milk and bread and there I was, running around trying to get crockery and cutlery,” she says.

Exactly a month before Boris Johnson ordered a nation to stay at home, two metres of dirty water had coursed into the modest red-brick semi that Laughton shared with her husband, Richard, and their three sons. The flood, which devastated East Cowick, a small village a mile south of the River Aire, left the family traumatised and homeless.

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