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‘Why aren’t we getting the help we need’: Thousands of families in Scotland are still without power

Thousands of desperate families in the north of Scotland are still without power or running water in freezing conditions – a week on from Storm Arwen and with a new Arctic Blast sweeping in.

Jenny Milne, 44, who lives around 30 miles from Aberdeen, near Inverurie, told MailOnline: ‘It’s power poverty. This is a society in breakdown – why aren’t we getting the help we need? It’s been a week.’

‘Politicians and the public really have no idea what is going on. There are lots of people still without power. The trees in the woods are flattened and and I mean flattened, flattened and uprooted,’ the mother-of-one added.

Nicola Sturgeon has tried to turn the focus on Westminster for not giving her enough money – despite Royal Marines being dispatched on Friday to knock on doors and ensure people’s welfare on Friday.  

Aberdeenshire remains in chaos with 3,000 homes without power, people cannot get petrol and they are unable to make or receive phone calls as the masts are down. 

Similar misery is being felt by thousands more people in the Scottish Borders and the north of England who have been cut off since the storm struck last Friday. 

It comes as an Arctic Blast threatens more disruption to the power network with temperatures predicted to plunge to -5C in parts of Scotland over the weekend.  

Drone photos from the Haddo House estate near where Mrs Milne lives showed woodland that had been completely flattened in the extreme winds

Marines from 45 Commando are seen conducting welfare checks in Lumphanan, Scotland, on Friday

Marines from 45 Commando are seen conducting welfare checks in Lumphanan, Scotland, on Friday

A car trapped underneath trees last weekend after Storm Arwen struck the Grampian region

A car trapped underneath trees last weekend after Storm Arwen struck the Grampian region

A massive fur tree lying across someone's back garden in Aberdeenshire

A massive fur tree lying across someone’s back garden in Aberdeenshire

A tractor tries to help a bus driver after the vehicle came off the road in icy conditions near Stonehaven, Aberdeenshire

A tractor tries to help a bus driver after the vehicle came off the road in icy conditions near Stonehaven, Aberdeenshire

The Met Office said a flurry of snow is set to hit Scotland today, before eastern parts of the country are covered in 9cm of the white stuff tomorrow. Eastern parts of Scotland are predicted to have highs of 2C today while western Scotland could reach 4C – before temperatures fall as low as -5C at the weekend

The Met Office said a flurry of snow is set to hit Scotland today, before eastern parts of the country are covered in 9cm of the white stuff tomorrow. Eastern parts of Scotland are predicted to have highs of 2C today while western Scotland could reach 4C – before temperatures fall as low as -5C at the weekend 

The Met Office said a flurry of snow is set to hit Scotland today, before eastern parts of the country are covered in 9cm of the white stuff tomorrow. 

Around 130 troops have been sent to carry out door-to-door checks and offer welfare support in northeast Scotland, where 1,600 Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN) customers remained off supply at 7am on Friday. 

South of the border, Durham County Council said around 100 servicemen and women will be based in Weardale to help local people. 

In Cumbria, some 1,800 homes remain without power, according to Electricity North West, with most of these in South Lakeland.

Jenny Milne (pictured), 44, who lives around 30 miles from Aberdeen, near Inverurie, told MailOnline: 'It's power poverty. This is a society in breakdown - why aren't we getting the help we need? It's been a week.'

Jenny Milne (pictured), 44, who lives around 30 miles from Aberdeen, near Inverurie, told MailOnline: ‘It’s power poverty. This is a society in breakdown – why aren’t we getting the help we need? It’s been a week.’

Another 500 properties are without power in the Scottish Borders, according ton the local council. 

Mrs Milne, who took her 11-year-old son to Edinburgh on Friday for an appointment, said: ‘I felt like we were in a completely different world.’ 

The transport entrepreneur and her husband were able to escape to Aviemore when their house was left without power and have since returned home to find many of their neighbours still struggling to cope.

One local farmer was having 30,000 litres of water hauled in by Scottish Water to keep his sheep alive.

‘One of my neighbours only got power on last night,’ Mrs Milne said.

‘You get these text messages saying the power is going to be on at this time – but then it’s not until the next day,’ she added.

Mrs Milne, who owns four horses, said: ‘When you’re working with animals every second that goes by without water is precious.’ 

The mother said that energy provider SSEN appeared to be doing their best to make repairs but that the damage was catastrophic. 

Drone photos from the Haddo House estate near where Mrs Milne lives showed woodland that had been completely flattened in the extreme winds last weekend.

She also described how many people were living quite literally in the dark – unable to communicate with the outside world or watch the television to find out what is going on. 

People have been donating food to the local community center, but most people who need it do not even know it is there because they cannot access the internet.  

‘[The Government] are not reacting to this and they are not seeing the reality of this threat,’ Mrs Milne said.

‘This has been years in the making, poor planning, poor infrastructure and they have made these cuts and this is what happens when you make these cuts. There is no plan B in place.’  

Massive felled trees in woodland in Aberdeenshire where power masts have been taken out by the bad weather

Massive felled trees in woodland in Aberdeenshire where power masts have been taken out by the bad weather

A conifer tree lies across a country lane in Aberdeenshire

Trees snapped in half hang over another lane

A conifer tree lies across a country lane in Aberdeenshire, left, and trees snapped in half hang over another lane, right

A destroyed forest after Storm Arwen struck northern Scotland with winds of more than 100mph last Friday

A destroyed forest after Storm Arwen struck northern Scotland with winds of more than 100mph last Friday

Trees, as well as phone and electricity masts, were toppled in the extreme weather

Trees, as well as phone and electricity masts, were toppled in the extreme weather

Earlier this week, SNP leader Ms Sturgeon slapped down an offer made by Prime Minister Boris Johnson who said he would offer support to the Scottish Government.

But because this did not involve cash the First Minister rebuked him in Holyrood.

‘The Prime Minister tweeted that the UK Government was ready to help the Scottish Government in our response to the storm damage. Yesterday, the Treasury confirmed to us that, no no, that didn’t actually involve any financial support,’ Ms Sturgeon said.

This despite Royal Marines going door-to-door to 4,000 homes on the PM’s orders checking people are safe and offering to bring them food. 

SSEN said power has been restored to more than 129,000 customers since Storm Arwen first struck, causing what managing director Chris Burchell described as ‘catastrophic damage to the electricity network’.

The company said properties still without power are mainly located in rural and isolated communities, with Aberdeenshire the main area still affected.

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said: ‘We are always ready to provide extra support to civil authorities across the UK in their time of need and it’s great to see units based in Scotland supporting their local communities.

‘Our dedicated armed forces will conduct door-to-door checks on people in their homes, providing essential support to those impacted by Storm Arwen.’

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said around 130 troops have been sent to the Grampian region of northern Scotland, where 3,000 homes have no heat or light after 100mph gales caused damage to power lines

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said around 130 troops have been sent to the Grampian region of northern Scotland, where 3,000 homes have no heat or light after 100mph gales caused damage to power lines

The Energy Networks Association issued this photograph of a fallen power line in the snow at an unknown location

The Energy Networks Association issued this photograph of a fallen power line in the snow at an unknown location

In England, Durham County Council said the military help follows a request from County Durham and Darlington Local Resilience Forum (LRF) for additional resources.

John Hewitt, chairman of the LRF’s strategic coordinating group, said: ‘We are doing everything we can to support residents who are affected by the disruption to power supplies, from providing emergency supplies to simply checking in to make sure everything is OK.’

He added: ‘We are very grateful to the Ministry of Defence that they have approved our request for support and that we already have troops on the ground helping our communities.’

The council said servicemen and women, based in St John’s Chapel in Weardale, will carry out door-to-door visits to check on residents’ wellbeing and ensure any help and support is provided where needed.

They will also provide updates on work to restore the power supply and gather feedback on any issues of concern. 


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