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A clean-up operation is under way on the Isle of Man after severe flooding left people trapped in their homes.

The village of Laxey was cut off when the river burst its banks on Tuesday.

Several properties in the Glen Road area were evacuated as some homes were under 6ft (1.8m) of water, causing “major damage”.

Home affairs chief executive Dan Davies said people were being supported to return home and debris was being removed from the river and roads.

“It is really about supporting people to get back in their homes,” he said.

“If they are vulnerable, health and social care will be on the scene helping people out, but also we’ve got to make sure the roads are rid of all the debris and that the river is going to start running freely.”

Laxey Woollen Mills suffered a “really wet floor” during the flooding.

Master weaver John Wood said staff “had to work hard to get it all cleared”.

“The flooring will need seeing to in a couple of weeks when it’s all dried out a bit,” he said, adding: “I’m sure there’s going to be quite a lot of work, but it’s nothing compared to what other people have.”

Some residents have reacted angrily to the situation, including Richard Kneen who owns a property on Glen Road.

He said work being carried on the river was a “totally unnecessary project” and management at Manx Utilities should be held accountable for the damage.

“The whole thing was an unmitigated disaster down here that could have been prevented,” he said.

“Heads should roll for this, there’s millions of pounds worth of damage.”

He praised emergency services and said he had been “lucky”.

“I managed to stem the flow, we got about 10 millimetres of water on the floor, but the doors held,” Mr Kneen said.

But he added others had been “absolutely devastated”.

It was the second time in four years the village has been hit by flooding. In December 2015 heavy rain led to part of a road bridge over the river being washed away.

Flooding occurred when the swollen River Laxey burst through a gap in a parallel wall.

This had been made to allow a weir – designed to improve the river for spawning salmon – to be repaired.

Manx Utilities chairman Alex Allinson said a “combination of factors” caused the flooding at Glen Road.

Debris washed down the river, causing a build-up of water which led to a “surge”, he said.

Although the gap in the wall had been “shored up with a metal barrier”, the force of the river was too strong, he added.

The repair work had been due to be completed by the end of September but weather-related delays meant it had been extended for an extra week.

He said a “full analysis” of what had happened was under way.

Apologising to those affected, he said an “urgent meeting” had been called by Chief Minister Howard Quayle.

Staff from the utilities firm were in the village on Tuesday, checking affected homes.

Chief Minister Howard Quayle, who visited the village and spoke to some of the residents affected, said the meeting would be to discuss the factors that had contributed to the flooding.

Mr Quayle said: “We need to get to the bottom of what had caused the problem, fix it, and ensure it doesn’t happen again.

“We’ll be putting in place an action plan to make sure that the chances of this happening again are as remote as possible.”

The amount of localised rainfall in the area had been “totally unpredicted” but the government would “do our best for everyone concerned”, he added.

The Met Office said more than 100mm (4in) of rain fell within a 20-hour period, with the heaviest downpour occurring in the early hours of Tuesday morning.

The “very localised” heavy rain fell mostly on the northern side of the Snaefell Mountain, which drains into the Laxey River, causing a surge in the flow of water downstream, a spokesman said.

He described it as “unusual” for the time of year but said it was “not a one-off”.

Mark and Tracey Young are back in their home in Laxey assessing the damage caused by the flood water.

“It started raining early… [there was] a little bit of rain and then the wall just collapsed and it was like a tidal wave,” said Mr Young.

“It’s absolutely devastating,” said Mrs Young.

The house belonged to her late father and she said it has been “very stressful and emotional”.

Heavy rain also caused a landslip which shut the Mountain Road and flood damage also closed the Laxey to Ramsey coast road.

The Mountain Road reopened overnight but is currently closed to allow safety work, the Department for Infrastructure said. It is expected to reopen at 16:30 BST.

Laxey and Dhoon primary schools which were closed during the flooding have reopened as normal, the Isle of Man government said.

Source: bbc.co.uk