There can be few things more frightening than seeing your home damaged when you’re powerless to stop it.
Last week, I visited residents in Ystrad Mynach, who had awoken to the devastation of flood damage, and have been doing everything they can to piece their lives back together.
I was taken aback at the sheer scale of the damage, but I was also amazed by the resilience of those affected.
They were determined to begin the rebuilding work at once and it was heartening to see neighbours helping each other out – the community spirit is alive and well here in Wales.
But public bodies need to step up their support as well, which is why I’ve been calling for the people affected to have a council tax break until their homes are habitable again.
I really hope Caerphilly Borough Council will heed this request.
Parents told me that their children were left traumatised be the experience of seeing their homes wrecked, so I’ve asked the Welsh Government to give free counselling for children who need it.
While providing the residents with the immediate support they need has been my main concern, in time we will want answers as to why this was allowed to happen.
Why were flood defences not put in place, given that the council must have known that nearby developments meant that flooding in the area was far more likely?
Why was the Climate Change Commission Wales body abolished, and is it true that the advice they gave to ministers that money needed to be spent on flood prevention strategies was ignored?
How can it be right that people were refused flooding insurance cover, and why is it always the least well off that always have to pay the price when tragedy strikes?
My party – Plaid Cymru – is calling for a full and independent inquiry so that these questions can be answered.
We know that climate change means that big storms will become more likely in the future so it’s imperative that lessons are learned now so that measures can be put in place to protect homes at risk of flooding.
The way that the communities affected by the floods have banded together to support each other has been truly inspirational, but governments and local authorities now have a duty to do all they can to stop this from happening again.
Anybody who has problems who’d like me to help with or have concerns about the risk of flooding in their area are welcome to contact me by emailing email@example.com