THIS MORNING, TOWNS and cities in the UK are dealing with extensive damage caused by severe flooding.
Yesterday, the River Thames bursts its banks after reaching its highest level in years, flooding riverside towns upstream of London.
Residents and British troops piled up sandbags to protect properties from the latest bout of flooding, but the river overwhelmed their defences in several places yesterday.
The Environment Agency has issued 14 severe flood warnings, with its chief executive, Paul Leinster, stating: “Extreme weather will continue to threaten communities this week” with more Thames flooding expected today.
There were no flood alerts for the part of the river that flows through London, but that stretch is protected by the Thames Barrier, a series of giant metal gates downstream of central London that can be closed against tidal surges. By holding back the tide, the barrier also creates more space in the river for excess water from upstream to flow down to the sea.
England has had its wettest January since 1766. The disaster has sparked a political storm, with the Prime Minister David Cameron’s government facing criticism from many residents for allegedly failing to dredge rivers and take other flood-prevention measures.
Both Cameron and Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg visited flood-hit areas yesterday as the government struggled to take charge of the flooding crisis.
Cameron denied the government had been slow to respond.
“We have been dealing with it from the very moment it started,” he said. “Where money was needed, we provided more money. Where military was needed, I made sure the military was deployed.”
However, there is no respite for people as yet more severe weather is expected to hit areas that are already struggling to deal with the extent of the flooding.
The BBC states that areas such as Berkshire and Surrey and Somerset are still at risk.
The Met Office has severe weather warning in place for rain across parts of south Wales and south-west England, stating that there will be more flooding in some places.
There are also two warnings of snow today in Scotland, northern England and Northern Ireland.
~Additional reporting AP