Moorland, Britain

By Cathal McNaughton

It’s like a scene from a Hollywood disaster movie. The Somerset village of Moorland is under five feet of water. Wading along the usually bustling main street, I am struck by how quiet it is – everything has an eerie, post-apocalyptic feel.

The only sound I can hear is coming from the now breached flood defences moving backwards and forwards in the ebb and flow of the rising waters, creaking like a sinking ship.

There is a strong chemical smell of leaking fuel as I push past the huge chunks of debris floating by in the murky waters. Cars lie abandoned with their lights left on, the houses are sandbagged and empty – their inhabitants left days ago. I see a deserted house with post still sticking out of the letterbox.

In the distance, I hear a faint rumble, which continues to grow until around the corner comes a large, ex-military amphibious vehicle. It’s the type of thing you might more usually see on fun city tours, which plunge into the river to the delight of the passengers. But here these vehicles are being used by amateur rescuers keen to do their bit.

It stops and I’m offered a lift through the village to the other side, where a few remaining villagers battle to keep the floods at bay. Others are simply hoping that the waters don’t rise any more. This is the case at the Vize family farm, where the living room is already under several inches of water. It starts to rain again.