‘My whole life is gone’ – Storm Babet flooding destroys man’s family home

Jake Seath described the response from local and national government as ‘shocking’.

Sarah Ping
Tuesday 24 October 2023 13:04 BST
Jake Seath has launched a fundraiser to rebuild his family’s life (Jake Seath/PA)
Jake Seath has launched a fundraiser to rebuild his family’s life (Jake Seath/PA)

A man whose family home was destroyed by flooding during Storm Babet said he thought he was going to die when he awoke in the early hours of Friday to find water “pouring in”.

Jake Seath, 27, a former graphic designer, woke up at 5am on Friday in his home on Heron Rise, Claverhouse, Dundee, “to people outside shouting and screaming”.

His home, which had been his grandmother’s and in which he had lived since he was 16, was taking in water.

After escaping with his partner and dog, two suitcases and a rucksack, Mr Seath said his “whole life” was gone.

He told the PA news agency: “I woke up at 5am to people outside shouting and screaming – I looked and where my French windows are, the water began pouring in.

“It was maybe a foot, two feet high, and it was right up to the windows. I thought ‘dear god, I don’t know what I’m meant to do’.

“The carpet was soaked and the water started getting higher and faster, and the water poured into the plug sockets and the fuse blew, so we were in the pitch black and it’s five in the morning and I just started shaking.

“I thought ‘this is it, I’m going to die’, because the water’s getting higher and higher and I can’t move.”

Forced to swim through the hallway, Mr Seath and his partner managed to leave their home with their dog, but lost one suitcase in the water and found themselves facing rain and “bitterly cold” wind.

“I’d been asleep like an hour prior, and now I’ve lost everything in the blink of an eye,” Mr Seath said.

“I’m thinking ‘I can’t believe this is happening’. I’m watching this mass exodus of people in the surrounding area evacuate.”

The former graphic designer did not have home insurance and said that his “whole life is gone”, with memories of his grandmother and his grandfather’s paintings all victims of the flood.

He also described the response from local and national government as “shocking”.

He said: “Where are the people who should be doing things? There’s been no council members in the area all weekend, no-one’s been there.

“I contacted my local MP’s office today, Stewart Hosie, I got told that he’s too busy in Parliament to do anything.

“There’s going to be an emergency meeting from the Labour councillor who’s going to organise some kind of way forward.”

Mr Hosie told PA: “I’m more than happy to offer any help and assistance I possibly can to any of my constituents.”

Mr Seath has been forced to sleep on the sofa at his mother’s house and said his partner has had trouble sleeping.

He has launched an appeal on GoFundMe, hoping to raise £5,000 to get his family’s life back on track.

“For me it hurts because it’s the last remnant I had of my grandmother,” he said.

A spokesman for Dundee City Council said the council worked “tirelessly” to help residents, and safety wardens visited the worst affected areas, including Heron Rise, to offer advice and support.

They said: “Our community safety wardens were among the many responders who were at Heron Rise to assist residents during the storm. The area was a key focus for all agencies involved in the response.

“Storm Babet was one of the most significant weather events to have hit this area in recent years, bringing massive disruption to communities across Dundee.

“We of course understand how distressing it is for any resident who has had to leave their home and has suffered significant loss of property due to flood waters.

“During the recovery phase, we and our partners will continue to provide support and review any additional actions that can be taken to mitigate the impact of large-scale weather events of this kind in future.”

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