Red Cross rescuers yesterday (Thursday) evacuated 40 residents to safety from a flood-threatened Scots care home.
The drama followed a call for help from managers of the Meadows care home in Huntly, Aberdeenshire.
Several hours of torrential rain had dramatically raised the level of the River Deveron, which flows past the home, and it was in imminent danger of bursting its banks.
A mercy fleet of four Red Cross vehicles crewed by highy trained volunteers – one ambulance, three patient transport vehicles and a specially equipped emergency response 4X4 Land Rover – raced to the scene.
One of the elderly residents had to be transferred to the local Jubilee Hospital by Red Cross ambulance. The others were taken to a variety of emergency centres in the area.
Ian Rideout, Red Cross operations director for Northern Scotland, said: “We received a call from the care home this afternoon asking for help to evacuate the residents because the River Deveron was at a dangerously high level.
“We deployed emergency response teams from various points in Aberdeenshire to carry out the evacuation. Our prime concern was to move the residents away from the flood danger zone as quickly as possible and get them to centres where they could be looked after.”
Elsewhere, Red Cross swift water rescue teams were on alert as the torrential rain continued to drench the North East of Scotland.
Twenty specially trained volunteers crewing three swift water rescue boats were put on standby as almost a month’s worth of rain fell in just a few hours on parts of Aberdeenshire and Moray.
A further 20 volunteers were ready to provide support to families and individuals in the event of large numbers of people being forced to flee their homes and seek shelter at emergency rest centres.
The downpour set river and loch levels soaring throughout the region. In Portsoy, Banffshire, houses, schools and a residential care home were evacuated as Loch Soy overflowed, causing widespread flooding.
Ian Rideout added: “We are ready to deploy our swift water rescue teams wherever they may be needed. They are all highly trained, highly skilled and experienced volunteers.
“We are also fully prepared to provide other support services such as health and social care for displaced people.”
Last year, the swift water rescue teams – based at Inverness – were called out to support the emergency services when floods devastated the Cumbrian town of Cockermouth. The volunteers were involved in more than 200 rescue operations.
The British Red Cross helps people in crisis, whoever and wherever they are. We are part of a global voluntary network, responding to conflicts, natural disasters and individual emergencies.
We enable vulnerable people in the UK and abroad to prepare for and withstand emergencies in their own communities. And when the crisis is over, we help them to recover and move on with their lives.