MEMBERS of the emergency services and council workers have been praised for their efforts to keep people safe in Gwent during Storm Dennis.

Crews were kept exceptionally busy as they worked around the clock to respond to emergencies - flooding, evacuations, fallen trees, blocked roads, and landslides - as the storm battered the Gwent region with high winds and torrential rainfall.

In Newport, the city council received more than 100 calls for assistance during the weekend, as a result of the storm.

There were many requests for sandbags, from residents who feared rising river levels and blocked culverts would bring flood water into their homes.

A month's rainfall fell on south Wales on the weekend, flooding ground already saturated from last week's deluge, caused by Storm Ciara.

“Our teams worked tirelessly to deal with the many calls they received.," said councillor Roger Jeavons, Newport's cabinet member for city services.

“I would like to thank all those who were out in such horrendous conditions to help residents and make sure our roads were safe - our staff and those in the emergency services - especially as it was the second weekend in a row that they had to deal with the impact of the storms.”

In Monmouthshire, where some of the worst Storm Dennis flooding and damage was recorded, council staff had set up rest centres for people who had been displaced.

“I would like to give my sincere thanks to everyone who has been working around the clock to keep residents safe," council leader Peter Fox said.

"Roads across the county are still closed due to flooding. Residents are urged to drive with caution as conditions are dangerous.

"We will continue to closely monitor all river levels over the coming days as the threat posed by Storm Dennis is not over yet."

Council crews in Torfaen worked "around the clock" on Sunday, and made sure culverts and gulleys were clear ahead of the storm's arrival.

Cllr Fiona Cross said no one needed to be evacuated from their homes, but "the sheer volume of rain meant a number of roads were closed at the height of the storm, and Cwmbran Drive had several vehicles abandoned in the water.

"Wherever this occurred, the crews were out to quickly remove debris and clear drains."

Torfaen's leader, Cllr Anthony Hunt, said: "I would like to thank all the council workers and staff from public services partners who were working in the most atrocious weather and thank residents who kept an eye out for their neighbours."

Caerphilly leader, Cllr Philippa Marsden, praised residents for "the sense of community spirit that was on show throughout the disruption" and singled out council workers for special praise.

“Our dedicated crews have been battling with the elements all weekend doing all they can to keep residents safe," she said.

"They have been working in extremely difficult conditions responding to an unprecedented number of calls for assistance from the public.

"I would like to thank all those involved including frontline staff, care workers and those dealing with the huge volumes of calls behind the scenes."

In Blaenau Gwent, the county council has set up Flooding Assistance Centres in Llanhilleth and Cwm to support and advise residents affected by the "absolutely devastating" floods, said council leader Cllr Nigel Daniels.

"We will be doing everything we can to help the residents with their needs," he added.

"I would like to thank all council employees who worked tirelessly in some very challenging conditions over the weekend to respond to Storm Dennis, and those who are continuing to support residents this week.”

The council has been "overwhelmed" by support and donations from the community and local businesses, a spokeswoman added.


As well as council workers, members of the emergency services have been at the forefront of the safety and rescue work across the region.

Volunteers with the Severn Area Rescue Association (SARA) had been out for 24 hours straight, helping people in Wales and England.

In Monmouthshire, SARA crews helped rescue people from cars trapped in the floodwaters.

The first SARA call-out was at 6am on Sunday, and the last crew was stood down at 6am today, though crews have remained on standby.

The Welsh Ambulance Service (WAS) had additional staff assigned to its Hazardous Area Response Team and Special Operations Response Team, which supported the police and fire services in their work across the region.

WAS chief executive Jason Killens said: “I would like to say a special thank you to all our colleagues that have been on duty, and particularly those working outside in the elements, responding to incidents and working hard to keep our communities safe.”