YEP Says (Jan 6): Individual stories of hardship that touch our hearts

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THE combined efforts of storms Eva and Frank have added up to a scarcely imaginable amount of misery for people across Yorkshire.

Consultancy firm PwC estimates that the final bill could top £2.8bn while accountants KPMG believe it could reach £5bn.

Such figures are hard to contemplate. They’re so big as to be rendered almost meaningless.

It is, as always, the individual stories that have a far greater impact.

Who cannot be moved by the sight of a devastated home or business when it is a neighbour (aren’t we all neighbours, Leeds?) who has been affected.

And surely it is these stories of individual suffering that have led the people of this great city to show their support; to turn out en masse to help clean up some of the devastated areas, or to dig deep into pockets all but emptied due to Christmas festivities, and give what they can to help out.

As of last night more than £12,000 had been donated to the Leeds flood relief fund, an appeal organised by our friends at Leeds Community Foundation.

There’s no doubt the amount will increase as businesses get back into the rhythm of work and decide that they, too, can try and make a difference.

Looking at the bigger picture the huge figures in question – a considerable chunk of which are expected to be made up of uninsured losses – underline the inadequacy of the £40m so far promised by the Government.

It is now up to Yorkshire MP Robert Goodwill in his new role of Floods Recovery Envoy for Yorkshire to fight this county’s corner and argue for more funding as well as a quicker timescale when it comes to repairs to important infrastructure.

Is it really impossible, for instance, to reinstate Tadcaster Bridge in less than a year?

Lives can, slowly, be rebuilt and homes and businesses be restored, but this takes money and as things stand the numbers simply don’t add up.

In fact, the £40m promised so far by David Cameron equates to little more than a downpayment.

n To find out how you can support the city’s flood relief fund, see our stories on pages 4 and 5, visit the YEP website, or go online to: https://www.justgiving.com/leeds-flood-relief-appeal

PIC: Jonathan Gawthorpe

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