FLOODING is a property-owner’s worst nightmare, so our sympathies are with the people of Lanchester who are still struggling with the aftermath of Storm Babet, which struck on October 18 although its full effects took days to reveal themselves.

Seeing your home or business, and your possessions, under water and so destroyed is a profound shock, but, if that’s not bad enough, then comes the hard part. First there’s the clean-up, and then there’s the dry-out time. Then there’s the hassle of finding someone to do repairs, plus there’s the even bigger hassle of battling insurance companies and officialdom to get your dues.

So one day of flooding can take months and months and months to put right. This is why, sadly, the people affected by Storm Babet know that Christmas will come too soon for them and so it is effectively cancelled.

And then there’s the psychological damage, as the people of Lanchester are saying: once you’ve experienced this scale of damage and disruption, you become hyper-sensitive to rainfall for fear of it happening again.

Knowing all of this, you would have thought that officialdom would do its utmost to assist people in their time of need, but this doesn’t seem to be the case. The Government set up a scheme to compensate those immediately affected by the storm, but because Lanchester’s problems were an after-effect, they don’t seem to qualify.

Even having a local MP who is as influential as the chairman of the governing Conservative Party does not seem to be softening the hard hearts of officialdom.

We sincerely hope that the people of Lanchester can get be helped in every way possible so they can rebuild their lives as quickly as possible after this truly distressing event.