THIS week began with the sombre news of the horrific rocket attacks aimed at Tel Aviv on Saturday, accompanied with the string of kidnappings of Israeli citizens into Gaza.

Although tensions between Israel and Palestine have been brewing over for generations, the severity of the recent attacks by Hamas terrorists have caught the international community, including Israel itself, off guard.

I joined a chorus of voices from around the world, and on both sides of the political spectrum, to condemn the barbarity of these attacks by Hamas upon innocent civilians.

Such attacks have no doubt particularly struck a chord in many parts of the UK which have also suffered from the attempts of extremists to impose their will through fear and violence.

I also understand that opinions about this issue can also run high amid incidents such as these, so I want to urge everyone to exercise constraint and good temperament in the debates they may have about this issue.

My thoughts go out to families throughout the world who have lost loved ones and to those whose friends and relatives are still feared as missing.

The weekend also brought about some of the heaviest rainfall seen in Inverclyde throughout the year. I was horrified to see videos of roads being transformed into rivers rushing through the streets of Greenock.

Some residents across Inverclyde decided to make the best of the bad situation and indulged in a spot of roadside kayaking, which made for some humorous social media and local press stories. The hilarity of such posts should not mask the destructive nature of these floods, however.

Inverclyde’s most vulnerable found themselves trapped and isolated within their own homes, those living in more remote areas were at risk of power cuts and the stretching of emergency services and cancelled public transport had the potential to cause severe chaos in people’s lives.

This is not including the irreparable damage to homes and personal vehicles that can occur in events such as these.

Adequate flood defences run the risk of being overlooked by local governments, as extreme floods tend not to occur very frequently.

Maintaining good flood defences throughout the year are essential, as they can mitigate the danger to residents and reduce disruptions to local infrastructure. I call upon the Scottish Government to work with Inverclyde Council to upgrade flood defence infrastructure to ensure this weekend’s chaos cannot be repeated.