3rd December, 2021 2:16 pm
The deaths of four people have been linked to the record gale which swept across the north of England, Northern Ireland and Scotland.
A vulnerable person has died after their home lost power following the devastating fallout of Storm Arwen, a councillor has said.
The person, who has not been named, lives in the town of Rothbury, Northumberland, where homes are still without electricity and a water supply in the aftermath of record 100mph gales.
Steven Christopher Bridgett, the councillor for Rothbury, wrote in a Facebook post announcing the death that the person was known to have underlying health conditions but that a lack of power “may have been a contributing factor”.
“Sadly, I’m sorry to report that we’ve had a death in this area,” he wrote. “The person in question did have underlying health conditions but we believe the lack of power/heating may have been a contributing factor.
“My thoughts really are with the person’s family. I don’t know what to say. I’m gutted.”
This is the fourth death linked to the storm since it struck across swathes of Scotland, Northern Ireland, and the north of England last Friday.
A 35-year-old man died after his pick-up truck was struck by a falling tree in Aberdeenshire, Scotland on Friday.
The same day a head teacher died after a tree fell onto his car in County Antrim, Northern Ireland and another man also died after he was hit by a falling tree in Cumbria.
More than 19,000 people are still without power after the devastation of Storm Arwen, with industry bosses warning that some homes will be without electricity and hot water until at least the weekend.
Red Cross and community groups have sprung into action to assist vulnerable residents living alone, who could face see out the weekend without a working power supply after powerlines were irreparably damaged during the storm.
One of those still without power is Paul Yates, 57, who lives in the village of Allendale in Northumberland. He has been without power for six days “and counting.”
Mr Yates, a Northern Powergrid customer told i: “For the last three days, the Northern Powergrid website has said the supply will be reconnected at 10pm.
“I’m not sure what they’re basing these estimates on, it feels like they’re plucking them out of thin air.
“I’ve just managed to get through to the call centre in the last day or so, and that’s a 60 minute wait to get through, which isn’t easy when you’ve got a limited phone battery. When you do get through, you’re told there’s no more information.”
Mr Yates, who lives alone, has relied on the goodwill of local businesses to get by, as well as a gas stove and a coal fire to generate heat.
“I had my first shower in six days today thanks to a local pub. A cafe is letting us work and use the internet without us having to pay for food or drink,” he said. “I have to work from home at the moment, because if I don’t home by 3pm, because if I leave it too late, I can’t get the house warm.
However, as the weather looks to worsen across the weekend with no clear reconnection date in sight, Mr Yates’ patience is wearing thin.
“This morning it was -3°C. I have a coal fire downstairs, but it doesn’t heat upstairs at all. You can see your breath in the bedroom,” he said.
“The first couple of days I was coping well mentally. But the appeal of cooking on a gas stove with tinned food is wearing off. I have a few small animals, so I can’t just up and leave my home and stay in a nearby hotel.
“Everybody is appreciative that the workers doing the best job they can, and the whole village is rallying together, but there’s no communication from Northern Powergrid.
“I can’t help but feel if this was in the south of England, it would have been sorted way before now. I’m just dreading the thought of a weekend like this.”
The exceptionally strong winds, the worst on record in 60 years according to business secretary Kwasi Kwarteng, damaged power lines, destroyed thousands of trees and disrupted vaccine supplies, and have required an enormous restoration effort by engineers, with remote areas still waiting for essential repair works to be done.
A total of 4,000 engineers have been deployed to the affected areas, with 750 generators distributed to fix the supply issue. The Army has been brought in to assist residents in Aberdeen who are still grappling with the fallout of the outages.
The Energy Networks Association said as of 9am on Thursday, 19,500 people were still without power and 98 per cent of homes had been reconnected. It is aiming to reconnect the majority of properties by Friday, while people who live in more rural areas may have their power returned by the end of the week.
The association added that more than one million homes had been affected by the power issues.
i has contacted Northern Powergrid for comment.
Source: INews, December 2021
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