A major incident declared in County Durham in the wake of Storm Malik has been de-escalated.
When the storm hit on Saturday morning, gale force winds brought down trees and powerlines across the county, resulting in thousands of properties left without power, road closures and damage to buildings, vehicles and other structures.
County Durham and Darlington Local Resilience Forum formed a Strategic Coordination Group (SCG) to lead the multiagency response to the storm and a major incident was declared the same day.
Since then, the SCG partners, which include Durham County Council, County Durham and Darlington Fire and Rescue Service, Durham Constabulary and Northern Powergrid, have been working hard to deal with the aftermath of the storm and support those affected.
Northern Powergrid engineers have worked tirelessly to restore power and the latest figures provided this morning show there are now less than 50 properties without power in the county. The work continues today to ensure these properties are reconnected as quickly as possible.
Durham County Council staff have also removed debris and cleared and made safe 200 trees that were damaged by the strong winds. All road closed as a result of the storm have now reopened.
The response also saw the council’s neighbourhood wardens and fire and rescue teams visiting communities known to have been affected by the power cuts to check on residents. Food trucks were arranged for areas most affected by the storm and the council’s Area Action Partnerships contacted community venues to offer assistance to those able to support residents.
Thankfully, Storm Corrie was not as severe as anticipated on Sunday and the restoration work was able to continue.
At a meeting this afternoon, the SCG de-escalated the major incident. However, the partner organisations of the LRF continue to offer support to those who have been affected to aid recovery efforts.
John Hewitt, chief executive of Durham County Council and Chair of the SCG, said: “It has been a challenging time for many of our residents, especially with the storm hitting so soon after Storm Arwen. Thankfully, Storm Malik and Storm Corrie were not as severe as Storm Arwen, and the partners have been able to draw on the lessons learnt during that incident to enhance our multiagency response this time.
“Although we have de-escalated the major incident, the impact of the storms remains a priority and we are now focused on helping communities to recover.
“I would like to say a huge thank you to all of the SCG partners for their hard work and dedication over the last few days. I would also like to thank our communities who have once again rallied to support those in need.”
Anyone who is aware of an older or vulnerable person who needs help as a result of Storm Malik or Storm Corrie can contact the council’s customer services team on 03000 26 0000. This number is available 24 hours, with out of hours emergency support available through our Care Connect team.
If someone is without power and is vulnerable, call 105. Additional contact numbers are available for residents with a hearing or speech impairment. Full details are available at www.northernpowergrid.com/contact.