Man praises community spirit after flood water threatens homes in Dagenham

neighbours unblock a drain in a flooded road

Neighbours unblock a drain in Goresbrook Road after the deluge on Sunday (July 25). - Credit: Ian Gent

A man has hailed community spirit after torrential rain threatened to flood homes in Dagenham.

When Abdul Manik and his neighbours in Goresbrook Road saw the water rising to their doorsteps in the downpour on Sunday, July 25, they rolled up their sleeves and got to work.

flooded road

The rain waters had drained away completely after about four hours. - Credit: Ian Gent

"The drains just couldn't cope. Everyone came together realising everyone's house was at risk.

"It was terrifying. If your house floods, where will you go? If we had waited another 10 minutes our homes would have flooded," Mr Manik said.

He explained his home is at the lowest point on Goresbrook Road so the water collected there first.

The 38-year-old bus driver called the emergency services, but knew they would be stretched with floods across the borough.

Using improvised tools including copper piping, neighbours prised open drainage gullies and started unblocking the drains.

Mr Manik, his 10-year-old son Adam, daughter Sophia, aged three, and neighbours including Adrian Kastas and Ian Gent teamed up to save the rain from pouring through their doors.

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After up to four hours, the road was cleared and disaster averted.

"Because of that we saved so much trouble and money. I want to say a big thank you to everyone."

He said if it "wasn't for the neighbours, our houses would have completely flooded". 

"It's really important to have community. Without that, I don't know what we would do," Mr Manik added.

unblocking a drain

One drain had become completely blocked by tree roots, but all the gullies in the road have now been cleared, according to Mr Manik. - Credit: Ian Gent

On the cause, Mr Manik, who studied A-Level geography, was clear that global warming driven by human activity was behind the deluge.

He vowed to do his bit for the planet by getting more solar panels and an electric car, no matter the cost.

"Change needs to come from you. It might make a tiny percentage of a difference, but imagine if everyone did it. That's when change happens," he said.

flood water in goresbrook road

Neighbours used piping to unblock the drainage gullies and managed to stop the floodwater from entering their homes. - Credit: Ian Gent

Barking and Dagenham saw 20 areas hit by floodwater, according to the local authority's leader Cllr Darren Rodwell.

In comments on social media, Cllr Rodwell said the monsoon-type weather meant more had to be done to tackle climate change, with investment in infrastructure.

It is the second month in which the borough has seen freak weather events, with neighbours in Hulse Avenue, Barking, hit by a tornado in June.

"We have to change our ways," Mr Manik said.