Residents at a housing complex in Haringey have been left to clear up following severe water damage to their homes following Monday (July 12) night’s flash flooding across London.
The New River Avenue development in Hornsey was completely submerged with many low level flats becoming flooded after water spilled in through basements.
Sewage was still visible outside the flats this morning with muddy pools of water and debris, while doors and manholes were left open where residents had desperately tried to let water escape.
A woman emerging from the block with her young daughter described how water mixed with sewage was running outside her home – she’s reluctant to let her daughter put her feet on the ground.
Residents described a torrent of water which grew following heavy rain earlier in the evening; parts of neighbouring Crouch End and Muswell Hill were also under water.
Student Blerta, 28 and sister Eliza Azemaj, 25 who live in one of the blocks described how they had to create a makeshift barricade with floor lining and a ladder to stop water flooding in.
“Whatever we could grab we were shoving it down the sides, floor laminate – if we don’t block our stairs, it falls down and starts coming into the house.
The sisters made multiple calls to the emergency services, the housing association Metropolitan Thames Valley and the national grid throughout the evening.
Blerta said: “From 8.30pm I called over five times up until 10pm – then I gave up because we needed to save the house downstairs.” They had become concerned about electrical metres in the basement after they became flooded.
They said the blocks on the complex built on a slope are vulnerable to flooding – “it fills up like a swimming pool” Eliza said. There have been previous incidents of flooding in the past and “lots of drainage problems”.
Describing the latest incident they said: “This is one of the worst times, everyone was panicking, it was scary.”
Neighbouring block Colorado apartments, owned by Clarion Housing, saw its lower block completely flooded.
Lin Chen, who lives there with her husband and two children, described how the water was over knee height. The family moved their belongings up the stairs and tried to make a barricade by the front door.
“Nobody comes,” Lin said as she tried to wash away sewage from the back garden areas, which is also visible throughout the flat.
She says her two children have gone to to stay with a friend while she tries to clean up the damage caused by the water, which has also flooded through the children’s bedroom.
In the main corridor of the block carpets are still saturated with stagnant water, pooling in parts with scattered debris. Outside, garden areas with children’s toys and climbing frames are covered in mud and worse.
Blerta and Eliza described residents coming together: “Everyone was helping each other to stop water flooding into the basement, we had to stop water coming in.”
“It stank, it was a mixture of sewage water and rain water,” she added.
Some residents also climbed down to open manholes so water could go down – “it was either that or it goes inside people’s houses,” Blerta said, “it was best thing we could do at the time”.
The London Fire Brigade attended on Tuesday morning. A fireman at the scene said they had been inundated with calls following the rain and had been to other affected areas across the borough and were dealing with a backlog of calls.
Residents say the fire brigade arrived 13 hours after they were called by residents, by which time most of the water had drained away.
Speaking of the response to the residents by the housing associations who maintain the blocks Blerta said: “What comes to mind is things like Grenfell, it’s always people like us who are just left, and no one cares to come and help.”
MyLondon contacted Metropolitan Thames Valley and the Clarion Housing group for comment and response to the flooding at the New River development.
Metropolitan Thames Valley said: “MTVH has staff on the ground assisting residents and helping with the clean-up operation. We are working with the Estate Manager to try and assess the extent of the damage, and will be assisting MTVH residents in any way we can.”