DEVASTATED families were left counting the cost of a ruined Christmas after flooding forced them out of their homes.
Many had to flee and be rescued in boats as water consumed their properties during the heavy rainfall that brought chaos to the region over the festive period.
One of the worst affected areas was Stoke Canon close to Exeter with around 20 families needing to be evacuated on Sunday morning. They later returned to try and salvage what they could but discovered possessions and presents had been ruined.
Among them was Jo Kertland, 42, who had to be rescued by a kayak in the village from her home in Chestnut Crescent along with her two children and three dogs. She said:
"I got up at 6am to feed the dogs and before you knew it we were under six inches of water throughout the house.
"We all evacuated upstairs with the dog and some lads from the village then rescued us on kayaks. The water was chest deep out in the road.
Mandy Plumridge, who lives at the late Kings Arms in the village with her husband and four children, was also hit. She filmed the aftermath of the flood, showing the devastation caused by the water and the presents she managed to save. See video.
"We are devastated and had to evacuate our house. We had no power and seven inches of water in the house. The whole downstairs is destroyed. "At the moment we are living with my mother-in-law in Exmouth for Christmas.
"I just went into the kitchen in the morning and it was covered in water. I woke my husband up and water was coming up through the floor. All the sandbags in the world wouldn't have stopped it.
"The whole of the downstairs looks awful. We are just going back now to try and collect a few things.