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Dublin: 10 °C Tuesday 31 March, 2020
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Corbyn accuses Johnson of showing 'true colours' by staying away as 106 areas at risk of flooding in UK

There are six severe warnings indicating lives are in danger in communities near the Welsh border.

Source: TheJournal.ie/YouTube

JEREMY CORBYN HAS criticised the UK Prime Minister for not visiting communities affected by flooding.

The Labour leader also said Boris Johnson was showing his “true colours” by not convening the Government’s emergency committee Cobra.

Parts of the UK which have already been saturated by heavy rainfall and flooding are braced as forecasters warn of further wet weather.

The Environment Agency (EA) said there were 106 flood warnings in place for England this morning, including six severe warnings indicating lives were in danger in communities near the Welsh border.

Persistent rain has seen the UK’s Met Office raise yellow weather warnings across parts of southern Scotland and Strathclyde, northwestern England and Wales as recovery efforts continue following Storm Dennis.

Corbyn is due to visit south Wales today to meet residents and volunteers in communities affected by Storm Dennis.

prime-ministers-questions Labour's Jeremy Corbyn was critical of Johnson. Source: House of Commons

Ahead of the visit, he said areas most vulnerable to flooding had been “badly let down time and time again”.

He called the government’s response to recent flooding “wholly inadequate” and accused ministers of failing to grasp the scale of the climate crisis.

“In refusing to visit flood-hit communities, nowhere-to-be-seen Boris Johnson is showing his true colours by his absence,” Corbyn said.

Failing to convene Cobra to support flood-hit communities sends a very clear message: if the Prime Minister is not campaigning for votes in a general election he simply does not care about helping communities affected by flooding, especially communities that have repeatedly been flooded in recent years.

“I want to thank our emergency services, the Welsh Labour government, local authorities and volunteers who have come together and worked around the clock to protect homes and businesses from flooding.

“As the climate crisis deepens, extreme weather conditions will become more frequent and severe.

“The government’s response has been wholly inadequate and fails to grasp the scale of this crisis.”

On Tuesday, Plaid Cymru leader Adam Price also questioned why Johnson had not called a Cobra meeting.

He said the Welsh Government should have its own Cobra-style national emergency response system, particularly for flooding disasters, to discuss emergency responses across all public authorities.

Yesterday afternoon, Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford held a summit at the Emergency Coordination Centre Wales (ECCW) in Cardiff.

winter-weather-feb-17th-2020 A lorry and a coach submerged in floodwater on the A443 near Lindridge, Worcestershire Source: Jacob King/PA Images

Environment Secretary George Eustice said: “Jeremy Corbyn shouldn’t be trying to politicise the floods, he should be backing the Government’s move to support and work with emergency personnel who are working tirelessly to help everyone affected.

“We are investing £2.6 billion in flood defences, which have already protected 200,000 properties that would otherwise have been caught out by flooding.

“We know there is more to do – which is why our manifesto committed us to an additional £4 billion for flood defences and today we’ve set out new measures to help the communities directly affected.”

Further downpours

Rain fell heavily across northern and western parts of Britain overnight, Met Office forecaster Mark Wilson said, adding it was likely to continue until about 3pm.

The village of Capel Curig in north Wales received 54 mm of rain in 24 hours, compared to an average of 97 mm of rain for the whole of February.

Cumbria’s Shap, which recorded 120 mm across February 2019, saw 52 mm fall before day broke on Thursday.

But some relief reprieve was on the way later in the day, Wilson said.

winter-weather-feb-17th-2020 Flooding in York in the aftermath of Storm Dennis. Source: Danny Lawson/PA Images

“The rain will clear through the west in the afternoon then through the southeast later,” he said.

People can look forward to “sunshine and showers” later in the day, the forecaster added.

More weather warnings are likely tomorrow with heavy rain expected across western Scotland, Yorkshire and parts of Cumbria.

Gusty winds are also expected to strengthen at the end of the working week.

Wilson urged people to be mindful of warnings as they go about their day.

“There could be some pretty tricky conditions on the roads, make sure you give yourself a bit more time with travel because there’s some fairly heavy rain around,” he said.

The EA reported England has already received 141% of its average February rainfall so far this month courtesy of Dennis, adding that river levels in the Colne, Ribble, Calder, Aire, Trent, Severn, Wye, Lugg, and Derwent all set new records in recent days.

Meanwhile, fundraising efforts have continued for those affected by the floods, with multiple communities in Wales starting collections.

Yesterday, Good Omens actor Michael Sheen launched a campaign to raise money for affected communities in Wales, raising half of its £10,000 goal within the first five hours.

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