Cameron sends in more troops to help with UK floods
28 December 2015, 12:38
London - British Prime Minister David Cameron sent hundreds
more troops into northern England on Sunday to help exhausted residents and
emergency workers fight back rising river waters that have inundated towns and
cities after weeks of heavy rain.
Cameron said the flooding is "unprecedented" and
vowed to do everything possible to protect people and their property as the
damage spread to the major cities York, Leeds and Manchester. He said
protective systems and contingency plans will be reviewed because the frequency
of such extreme weather events seems to be on the rise.
Weeks of persistent rainfall has saturated the ground and
swollen the rivers to record levels, leaving entire swathes of northern
England, and smaller parts of Wales and Scotland, vulnerable. Several hundred
flood warnings remain in effect.
There have been no fatalities or serious injuries reported,
but hundreds of people have been evacuated from houses and apartments in York, 320km
north of London, where 3 500 properties are judged to be at risk. Emergency
crews worked extra shifts to try to restore power to roughly 7 500 blacked out
homes in the greater Manchester and Lancashire areas.
Environment Secretary Liz Truss said flood protection
systems put in place in recent years were unable to cope with the record-high
"In Lancashire every single river was at a
record-high," she said. "In Yorkshire we have seen some rivers a metre
higher than they have ever been before. Clearly, in the light of that, we will
be reviewing our flood defences."
Several hundred people had been evacuated the day before in
the West Yorkshire and Lancashire regions and officials said thousands had lost
power. The number of people affected continues to grow as flooding spreads and
impacts cities as well as villages and towns.
A picturesque 200-year-old pub, The Waterside, in the
greater Manchester area, collapsed and part of the structure was swept away by
the River Irwell. Rising river levels also threatened downtown Manchester and
police dealt with a ruptured gas main and small fire believed to have been
caused by the flooding.
The Environment Agency urged residents to remain vigilant
because more "severe" flooding is expected overnight and Monday.
The agency used its Twitter feed to beg people to be
cautious, tweeting that driving or walking in flowing flood waters could be
Rescue crews have been using boats to help remove people
from their homes and in some cases from their nearly submerged vehicles.