UK & World News

  • 10 February 2014, 19:41

River Thames Floods Homes In 'Major Incident'

Residents have been evacuated from their flood-hit homes along the River Thames and thousands of other properties are at risk as record water levels are set to rise further.

Parts of the Thames Valley are submerged with hundreds of homes flooded, and levels in at least 10 places at an all-time high.

With more rain forecast to fall overnight, police have declared a "major incident" in east Berkshire.

There are 14 severe flood warnings, meaning an imminent danger to life, in place between Datchet in Berkshire and Shepperton Green in Surrey, and two remain in Somerset.

Datchet was severely hit by flooding after the water rose by over half a metre in 24 hours, blocking roads and train tracks. Much of the nearby village of Wraysbury was under water.

More than 300 other flood warnings and alerts have also been issued, including in the South East, South West and the Midlands.

Riverside properties by the Thames were inundated by water after it burst its banks.

Some residents in Wraysburyand Walton-on-Thames in Surrey have been evacuated but other people are refusing to leave as they are worried about possible looting.

Around 30,000 sandbags have been deployed in Datchet, Old Windsor, Horton, Wraysbury and Cookham in Berkshire, with another 5,000 due to be sent out.

Hundreds more properties in the region could be flooded over the next two or three days, the Environment Agency has warned.

As far down river as Kingston on the outskirts of London the river is high and rising.

In Thames Ditton, the river has burst its banks and more property is expected to flood. The same is true up to East and West Molesey.

Meanwhile, a flood warden helping people evacuate deluged homes in Wraysbury made a desperate appeal to David Cameron for help, telling him: "Get your waders on and get down here now."

In an emotional plea during a live interview with Sky News,Su Burrows said to the Prime Minister: "We need you, we need the army and we need bodies on the ground.

"We are tackling this as a community because we refuse to go under, but you need to do something about this now."

Environment Agency chairman Lord Smith has said the organisation's staff and military personnel will be out in Wraysbury tonight to help combat flooding.

Earlier, Mr Cameron gave his support to the agency amid criticism of its handling of the crisis and insisted: "This is not the time to change personnel".

On a visit to Weymouth, Dorset, where coastal defences are being shored up after a weekend of severe weather, Mr Cameron backed the Government's response to flooding caused by the wettest January on record.

He said: "When more pumps were needed, we provided more pumps. When more money was needed, we provided more money. When the military was needed, we made sure they were deployed."

It came as commuters faced further misery, with flooded rail lines and landslips causing major disruption on some First Great Western, CrossCountry, Southeastern and South West Trains routes

Storm and flood-hit Britain could be left with a bill for more than 1bn, according to the latest estimates.

:: Police in Wales have found a body during the search for a man who went missing while kayaking with friends on the River Usk at Llangynidr.

And lifeboats and rescue helicopters continue to search for two Dutch tourists who disappeared after setting out for a walk along Sheep's Head in County Cork, Ireland.

:: You can email your photos and videos of the floods to news@sky.com.

:: Watch Sky News live on television, on Sky channel 501, Virgin Media channel 602, Freeview channel 82 and Freesat channel 202.

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