"We had ten minutes to do everything, to try and save as much as we could" says 75 year old Madge Kelly who lives on Tucana Avenue on Spike Island. She says it was late afternoon yesterday when she got a knock on the door from the police...
"I opened it and a gush of water nearly knocked me into the living room" she recalls "The police began taking us to St Boniface Social Club but stopped and said that we couldn't cross the road as it was too dangerous. They took me back to a ginnel and told me to wait for them. I stood on a step in my slippers and leggings for over an hour and I was freezing but they never came back."
Madge saw three rescue men and asked them to take her back to her house which they began to do but backed off as it was too dangerous... "The water was up to my waist" she says. Instead Madge sought shelter with a friend on the estate whose house wasn't flooded, waited for the water to recede and went home to bed.
This morning, the full extent of the devastation became clear as a line on the living room radiator shows over a foot of water had engulfed the downstairs of her house, with everything in its path covered in damp mud and sludge. Like many residents on Spike Island, Madge had no insurance... "It's too dear" she says.
More possessions could have been saved but there were no warnings of what was about to happen, and Madge's house had not been given a `Flood Angel' Flood Defender which was supposed to act as a flood gate across the front door.
"They said I wasn't at risk but our houses are on the flow of the river" she explains "How can we not be at risk?"
Madge's daughter, Debbie Prince, who lives on Cygnus Avenue on Spike Island, did have a `Flood Angel' but, she says, it didn't work... "They weren't properly fitted after the walls were rendered by the Council when they refurbished the estate. They were no good, a complete waste of time."
Debbie also got no warning of the imminent flood... "I got a flood line text at 11pm on Friday night and that was the only thing I got" she says "They said they gave warnings but I know that none of us got one, so where's that coming from? We were warned? No we weren't."
It was late afternoon when Debbie noticed a trickle of water at the back of her house..." I just managed to get in shut the door but then it came in from the front and the back" she recalls "The water came up to the second step on the stairs but outside it was higher. Everything I've got, bar the microwave and tv which we managed to take upstairs, is ruined. Everything was brand new too – I had a new sideboard, dining table and three piece suite..."
This morning the refuse collectors put the items, plus lots more, into one of the wagons which toured the estate removing flood-trashed goods. Debbie, together with many others, is left with no hot water or heating...
"It's like living in the dark ages because we don't know anything, there's no information" she says "Nobody can contact us because the house phone is dead, and no-one's got the internet because the electric is off, so we're stuck. Apart from some Salix Homes staff collecting names, no councillors, mayors or politicians had been near the avenue to see if everyone was ok...
"We're not trendy and in a tourist spot like Cumbria so they don't give a toss" she says.
Debbie's neighbours agree with her sentiments... "We got no warning, we were just watching football and heard shouting outside" Carol Peters recalls "I was saying `It won't touch us' but within minutes the water went up to about two feet and everything was swimming. No-one knocked on our door asking if we were all right; we heard that other people were getting knocks but no-one came near me.
"I'm gutted, I've lost everything that was downstairs" she adds "They give you flood gates that don't fit, and they were no use anyway because the water was coming through the walls it was that bad. The insulation should have stopped that but it didn't. The water was pouring through the skirting boards and through the walls...
"Now we're just trying to get it cleaned up the best we can but it won't be liveable downstairs for a long time" explains Carol "No-one's been in touch and told us anything. There was a meeting this morning at 9am at St Boniface but why would you want to go there when your house is like this? We need help here. I don't know what's going to happen now. It's devastating..."
Also on the Avenue lives William Bramwell, who was in Warrington when a friend texted him that the Irwell was about to burst its banks. By the time he got home all that was visible of his car was the back light, so deep was the water; and when he eventually managed to get into the house it became obvious that his settee had been floating around the living room, while his grandchildren's Christmas presents were covered in sludge.
"I'll tidy up as best I can and then either go and live at my daughters or upstairs" he says "There's been no help offered and the word is that if you haven't got insurance you won't be compensated. But who has insurance on a council estate in Salford? I can deal with being robbed, bits and bobs that can be replaced, but you can't replace flood damage."
William is convinced that the authorities' recent tampering with the river had made the flood worse... "I don't understand why they built the bank up and then laid big heavy boulders at the bottom of it which is going to send the water up quicker" he says "It's never flooded down here for seventy years, I think the flood defences have caused it..."
Indeed, many residents are questioning the effectiveness of the millions of pounds spent on flood defences both in Lower Broughton and on Littleton Road. Only two weeks ago, Salford was recognised by the United Nations as one of eight global communities for work by the Irwell Valley Sustainable Communities raising awareness of flood risks in Lower Broughton and Lower Kersal.
Over at Mocha Parade, some shop keepers were busy sweeping water out of their premises. A flood was the last thing Mocha needed, following years of neglect by Salford Council... "I'm hoping they'll do something for us now" says Waz from Mocha Wines "They promised us a rent concession because they'd run the area down but we got absolutely nothing...
"We got no warning of the flood but just by chance we went to look at the river which was close to flowing over" he says "We came back here, and the paper shop and the car park was already covered in water. Within five minutes it was already in my shop. We're going to do as much as we can, get the water out and hopefully get back to normal later in the week."
At the surgery on Mocha, Doctor Kassam is sat alone in the waiting room surveying the mud and sludge that covers the carpets of the consulting rooms, offices and reception area... "Up to Christmas Day we cleaned to make it perfect because we were having an inspection" he says "We're supposed to be opening on Tuesday but I will have to call all my staff to see. If it's not acceptable we will have to find an alternative or the patients will suffer. After four day's holiday patients need the doctor. Tomorrow we're all coming with a brush and bucket to clean..."
• The Community Foundation for Greater Manchester has launched the Greater Manchester Flood Recovery Appeal – to donate click here
• There is also the St Boniface/Broughtons Flood Clean Up Facebook page which is putting out appeals for practical help and donated items to help with the clear up. It's also the official help page for anybody affected by the flood – click here
* Another Facebook help site for Lower Broughton is the Community Flood Support Group - click here
* See also related Salford Star articles on the flood...
Salford flood devastates Lower Broughton - click here
Salford floods as River Irwell rises - click here
*Salford Flood Support By The Community, For The Community – click here
* When The Going Gets Tough, Salford Gets Going... - click here
* Salford Council £500 emergency payment to flood victims - click here