Residents of a flood-battered Moray village say horror footage of flash floods in Germany “focus all our minds on the crisis we have here”.
Water from the River Spey has poured through their Moray village 11 times in the last few months – including four times in one week – prompting a flood expert to predict “crisis point” is near.
“Our biggest fear,” says Garmouth resident Jim Mackie, “is if nothing gets done to protect us soon the river will cut round the back of Ross House and cross the field until it reaches the walkway to the viaduct.
“That walkway is not built with armour rock so once the water gets through there it’s going to go straight through lower Garmouth and there are 10 houses under threat there.”
Villagers have stood on their doorsteps countless times watching torrents of water rush along their streets, some with their bags already packed incase the pumps and sandbags fail to stem the flow.
Moray Council has been investigating the River Spey’s impact on a nearby burn, with the findings expected soon.
Meanwhile, some villagers have clubbed-together the cost of a £3,500 drone so they can rest a bit easier knowing what the river is doing.
Moray MSP Richard Lochhead has met with residents to examine the changing situation in the village.
And a flood expert was asked to give his verdict on the situation.
River changing course
Geomorphologist Hamish Moir studied flooding concerns near Garmouth for 18 months concluding “crisis point” may be near.
Mr Moir, boss of Inverness-based CBEC Eco Engineering said: “I was contacted by the angling club about concerns with the way the river was changing, but it quickly became apparent there were bigger issues.
“It is flooding but that’s not the only problem. The river is changing its course and doing so in a way that is presenting a risk to property and infrastructure, particularly in Garmouth.
‘It could happen’
Mr Mackie said the images of Germany’s flash floods were a reminder that something had to be done to protect the community from the River Spey.
He added: “It really focuses our minds on the crisis we have here. There’s no reason why we can’t see something like that happen.”
More flooding was feared in western Germany on Friday as another dam looked set to breach and the death toll rose to more than 80.
The natural disaster is Germany’s worst loss of life in years.
Entire communities have been devastated as swollen rivers swept through towns and villages in the North Rhine-Westphalia and Rhineland-Palatinate states.