UK & World News

  • 25 November 2012, 14:58

Flood Scenes 'Shocking' Says David Cameron

David Cameron has said the scenes of flooding around the country are "shocking" and pledged help for all those affected.

The Prime Minister took to Twitter to voice his concern about the pictures of devastation coming from the South West as Britain braces for more bad weather to come.

He tweeted: "Shocking scenes of flooding in Cornwall and around the country. Govt will help ensure everything is being done to help."

It comes after a 21-year-old was killed when she became trapped under a fallen tree in Exeter on Saturday night. Two men were also injured.

Inspector Andrew Webber of Devon and Cornwall Police told Sky News that the dead woman had been living in a small tent sheltered against a wall at the roadside.

"It was a very large oak tree that had been there for ... many years. Obviously we've had lots of heavy weather, it's been raining an awful lot, and the tree for whatever reason came down," he said.

Rescue services in the West Midlands have appealed for drivers of 4x4s to stop taking unnecessary risks. They say a remarkable number of their call-outs have been to people in four-wheel drive vehicles.

Nathan Hudson, of West Midland Ambulance Service, said: "Perhaps surprisingly, we have had to deal with a remarkable number of stuck 4x4s. Just because your vehicle has four wheel drive, does not make it amphibious. They too can become stuck in deep floodwater.

"We would urge people to not try and get across flood water and instead take a short detour, rather than become trapped in their cars and have to be rescued."

The warning follows a report from Warwickshire Police that three people who had decided to go off-road driving in the bad weather had become stranded and were stuck on the roof of their vehicle shouting abuse at rescue teams.

The Environment Agency has currently got one severe flood warnings, which means serious threats to life and property, in the South West in place.

There are 223 flood warnings in place across the country, mainly in the South West and the Midlands, and 273 less serious flood alerts.

Emergency services were called to rescue people from their homes in the historic town of Malmesbury, in Wiltshire, where waters were 3ft deep in places due to flooding from the River Avon.

A spokeswoman for Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service said: "It's been building up there for a few days and has flooded now in the area down by the river.

"Streets and houses have been flooded and we've rescued four people from two properties, three people from one house and a chap with asthma from another."

In Cambridgeshire, a 70-year-old man died after his car plunged into a river near Earith on Saturday night, however, the police said it was not a weather-related accident.

A spokesman for Cambridgeshire Police said: "This particular accident could have happened at any time of year."

In Devon 60 people were evacuated from 12 locations because of safety concerns, while in Cornwall 80 properties had been hit by flooding.

Emergency teams have been working to shore up defences, deploy temporary barriers, monitor river levels, clear blockages from watercourses and pump-out flood water from towns.

Richard Benyon, the Environment Minister, said: "We recognise that while somewhere over 400 homes have been flooded, we have actually managed to protect over 24,000 homes by recently constructed flood defences, and so that is, if you like, the silver lining to this cloud."

In Exeter a member of the British kayaking team, Sam Anderson, took advantage of the white waters generated by the floods and took to the River Exe in his kayak.

He told Sky News that he would not encourage others to do the same thing but that he had been kayaking for 10 years and was wearing safety equipment, including a helmet.

He said: "It's really powerful the current. You just cannot go against it you have to go with it because it is really strong and it's really deep as well."

The rest of Britain is also bracing itself for more flooding and travel disruption, with forecasters predicting further heavy downpours.

Jo Wheeler, Sky News Weather Presenter, said: "The low pressure system that brought flooding rain across the country last night, will slowly clear north-eastwards through the day.

"The heaviest hit areas of Devon and Cornwall received over two inches of rain in some places. But the heaviest rain has now moved north, and there'll be a period of some hours before further wet weather is likely.

"Meanwhile, the storm system has taken the wettest weather into central , eastern and northern parts of England.

"And the strongest winds are to the south and east of the system, with gale force gusts for eastern England, East Anglia and the south-east. These blustery conditions will also abate as the low pressure system clears away into the North Sea."

Network Rail said trains were likely to be suspended between Exeter and Bristol until Monday. Landslips at Honiton and Dawlish have led to the cancellation of a number of train services.

In North Yorkshire flooding has caused the closure of major roads including the A66, between the A1 and A67.

North Yorkshire Police tweeted: "Please take care when travelling in North Yorkshire. There is lots of standing water on many roads. Reduce your speed."

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