Helped in the flood disaster of 1953

General stories from the archives

On January 31st we commemorate the great flood disaster that struck South Holland and Zeeland in 1953. In 1953 De Kroniek reported extensively on aid from Bodegraven and the surrounding places.

Immediately on Sunday morning after learning of the disaster, measures were taken to help. First Aid went to the Krimpenerwaard to recover the endangered cattle. The cattle were collected from the Groot-Ammers and the Noordeloos and stored in the garage of the Trans Neerlandia Transport Company.

Red Cross out

Bodegraaf’s Red Cross was also immediately ready, but had to wait to be called. On Sunday evening, aid workers were instructed to head to Schwinn-Duveland. After four days of relief efforts, a report appeared in the local newspaper de Kronik:

On the night from Thursday to Friday, the Bodegraafse column of the Red Cross returned from a four-day trip to the flooded areas. Our people have not taken off their clothes for days and slept little or not at all. They were tired but satisfied that they were able to help the unspeakable misery of the affected areas. Sunday morning after the night of the disaster, the party was ready to go out, and after two unsuccessful attempts to reach the area of ​​the disaster, they finally reached Bruinisse on Tuesday evening with a fleet of nine ships under the command of Doctor Bey. The Bodegraaf team consists of the members of the Board of Directors: S. Beye, Stocker, J. van der Giessen, J. van der Poll and E. van Waveren. Column members: c. Grootendorst, R. Van Beek, D. Van Fredendael, c. Van Beek, J.; Flaman, J.; de Kooning, R. and J. van der Poorte. The team is augmented by two men who are not members of the queue: W. Christlin and J.D. Young.

On the same night and the following days, these people were busy getting hundreds of evacuees, brought from the island villages of Schouen-Dovilland, onto several ships and supplying them with hot coffee, bread and blankets. Adjutant Van Waveren had to improvise several times to solve all the problems and direct the help in the right direction.

In the town of Zijpe, Bodegraaf aid workers have helped remove people from dikes with small boats on reclaimed land. They managed to bring the women, children and infants to safety on the hot ships, where after the cold and fear
February nights can catch my breath again. On board the mother ship was a large amount of blankets and clothes, which were distributed to the people by the warehouse manager H.P. Keokins. They all did what they could in nice co-operation with the commandos.

So far the (abridged) report from De Kroniek in February 1953.

Money and goods for Herkingen

Money and merchandise were also collected. Organized by Messrs. c. Fricken, J.; Ackermans, J. Spice, H.; 72,000 guilders and six lorries full of merchandise were collected. Money was also raised at Roywick, a nice sum of over 27,600 guilders. Bodegraven together with Roewijk, Lang-Ruig-Weide, Heckendorp and Langedijk, adopted the aid of the city of Herkingen. A committee has assessed the damages to see how best to spend the aid. First Aid went to make the homes habitable.

Swallow kits

Flooded houses in disaster areas were covered with a thick layer of mud (silt). The inhabitants of our municipalities, together with the inhabitants of Langedijk, formed the so-called sludge teams, which treated this sludge with brooms and shovels on site. The first women’s team, led by Dames L. van der Werken and Windhorst (first and third from left in the photo) left at the end of February to start work. The first team of ladies and girls consisted of twelve Bodegraven residents and twelve Langedijk residents. The third team consisted of relief workers from Ruige, Hekendorp, Lange Ruige Weide, Papekop and Ammerzoden.

Teams cleaned farms, homes, and the church and helped provide residents with clothes and shoes from the disaster fund. The ladies worked fourteen days per shift and were then relieved.

Aid then continued from the joint municipalities to assist in the restoration of houses, the restoration of the church, the sending of livestock, and large dispatches of vegetables.

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