Archbishop Visits Flood Victims in Hull

The Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu, is in Hull visiting those left homeless as a result of the recent floods.

Accompanied by the Bishop of Hull, the Rt Rev Richard Frith, Dr Sentamu will also meet clergy, local church members, volunteers, and council representatives.

Hull, which falls within Dr Sentamu's diocese, has been dubbed the "forgotten city" of the floods emergency by local residents and council leaders. Around 10,500 homes have been evacuated following the deluge.

Dr Sentamu's visit takes in the residential home of Bishop Frith in Hessle, Hull Guildhall, which has become the temporary home of flood victims, and a flooded school.

"The poorest, the most vulnerable people on very low incomes - when these things hit them, it hits them hard, and you just feel your soul is almost, as it were, wrenched out," Archbishop Sentamu was quoted by the BBC as saying.

The Salvation Army has also been giving emergency services vital support as they continue with their efforts to clear the flood waters and get the region back to a state of normality.

Salvation Army staff and volunteers have been working tirelessly in flood-affected towns including Hull, Doncaster and Dinnington, where they are providing hot meals, clothes, blankets and emotional support. They have also been helping residents move furniture and belongings from their homes and properties.

In Doncaster, where the corps building has been turned into a rest centre for around 80 evacuees, The Salvation Army has enlisted the help of a magician to lift spirits, while the local Vue Cinema, Doncaster Super Bowl and Dome Leisure Centre have offered free use of their facilities.

Yorkshire Divisional Commander Major Bill Heeley praised the effort of Salvation Army staff and volunteers.

"I'm extremely proud of all the hard work put in by Salvationist and volunteers," he said. "At times like these when human resolve is stretched to the limit, The Salvation Army is committed to providing a caring hand and listening ear to ease the pain of those who are suffering. The phrase 'heart to god, hand to man' cannot be more true at times like these."

Prime Minister Gordon Brown announced Friday that emergency funds will be made available for the victims of the recent floods across South Yorkshire and Hull.

In an interview with GMTV, Mr Brown said that the priority was to "help people get back into their homes" and to "do more about getting the schools back working".

Emergency services and local authorities would receive assistance "as quickly as possible", he confirmed.

"I really feel sorry for individuals, some of them still staying in temporary accommodation obviously, and we will do what we can, and have been over the last few days doing what we can to help," he said.

The Chartered Institute of Loss Adjusters has estimated that claims relating to the floods could reach as much as £1.5bn.

Mr Brown gave assurances that those without insurance would be offered assistance.

"We've got to help people who've got probably big insurance claims, some people are not insured. And I know the funds have been set up - the disaster funds - so we will do something to help them," he said.

The Prime Minister plans to follow in the footsteps of other politicians, including Alan Johnson and Hazel Blears, by making a visit to flood-affected areas.