British PM Cameron chairs emergency meeting as thousands affected by floods

Reuters News
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Posted: Dec 07, 2015 4:04 AM

LONDON (Reuters) - British Prime Minister David Cameron will chair a meeting of the government's emergency committee on Monday to discuss severe flooding in northwest England where thousands of homes were without power for a second day.

After the country was battered by storms and heavy rain over the weekend which saw the army called in to help those affected, Britain's Environment Agency said more than 80 flood warnings remained in place on Monday, 46 of which were severe.

Some in the northwest, which was also badly flooded in 2009 and 2005, criticized flood defenses, but Environment Agency Chief Executive James Bevan described it as an "unprecedented event", with more than a month's worth of rain in 24 hours.

"In those areas where the water did come over the tops of the defenses, firstly, the fact the defenses were there reduced the overall impact and extent of the flood and, secondly, it gave people more time to prepare," he told BBC Radio.

"From time to time nature will throw things at us which will overwhelm the system and I think that is what happened here."

(Reporting by Kylie MacLellan, editing by Elizabeth Piper)