I'm looking for a new job – and I know exactly what I want to do.

‘Whenever it rains now, we can’t sleep’ are words often heard since floods hit the Rhondda in February last year, just before the start of the Covid pandemic.

Some people were flooded again a few weeks later, and then again during flash floods in June.

“It went from nothing to up to six foot of water in 15 minutes. It didn’t seem like a normal flood,” said a resident from Pontypridd.

“The water came down Treforest estate like a tsunami. It happened so fast and the amount of water was unbelievable. It came through the back and front doors, through the walls and windows,” according to another.

“He lost his footing and was washed wall to wall,”a young man in Pentre told me, describing what happened to an elderly neighbour.

“We lost our pet. Our dog was downstairs. Our children were traumatised knowing she suffered and drowned. We’ve been forgotten about.”

The impact of the storms in Rhondda Cynon Taf (RCT) was unprecedented. Fifteen hundred homes and businesses in the county were flooded, hundreds of families forced to evacuate, many of them uninsured.

READ MORE:

There were landslides in Tylorstown and Cwm Clydach. A deep gash split the Wattstown coal tip, threatening the main road below and houses nearby. The cost of the damage in RCT is put at £200million.

Communities across Wales have been affected by flooding. From Llanrwst in the north to Carmarthen and Tenby in the west. In the south Skewen and the east Cardiff, Monmouth and Crickhowell have all been hit. And there are more.

Climate change isn’t a recent phenomenon however. We’ve known for years that freak weather events are on the increase so why wasn’t RCT council prepared for the heavy rains of last year?

Where was the emergency plan establishing clear lines of communication between those at risk and the relevant public bodies? Why couldn’t people get sandbags? Were the floods a result of cutting down large numbers of trees from the mountainsides above Pentre and Blaenllechau?

Was a risk assessment done before felling? Should measures have been put in place to prevent the rivers bursting their banks? And, most importantly, what must we do now to stop this happening again?

Sixteen months on and we’re still waiting for answers. By now the council should have published the Section 19 technical reports, following a statutory, council-led enquiry.

The reports, however, remain outstanding, despite the obvious urgency. And even if they are published, they cannot be impartial. Only an independent public inquiry can establish the truth about what happened. Only then can we belatedly address the problems.

Neither RCT council nor the Welsh Government supports the call for a public enquiry, even though local MPs voted for an independent enquiry into the flooding in England.

This cannot be right. For the sake of those who have lost so much, we must have a public inquiry. I’m ready to lead it. CV available on request.

If you value The National's political journalism, help grow our team of reporters by becoming a subscriber.