UK leader to visit flood-hit northern England, Scotland

AP News
Posted: Dec 07, 2015 7:44 AM
UK leader to visit flood-hit northern England, Scotland

LONDON (AP) — British Prime Minister David Cameron will visit areas hard-hit by flooding on Monday after record rainfall in northern England and Scotland led to the death of one person and swamped some 2,000 homes.

The visit comes amid criticism that 45 million pounds spent on flood defenses after major floods in 2005 failed to hold back the deluge in Cumbria, the hardest-hit county. The area got a month's worth of rainfall in a day — about 34 centimeters (13.4 inches).

While local leaders demanded an investigation, Floods Minister Rory Stewart defended the government, arguing that defenses had slowed down the water to allow more time for evacuations.

"When you face, as we have now, probably the highest rainfall we have ever had in the United Kingdom, it is going to come over the top of defenses," he said. "But what the defenses do do is they slow it down. It gives us more time, it's given people here more time to evacuate safely and it's meant that there's less water on the streets than there would have been if we hadn't had that defense in place."

The military has been called in, and has been helping evacuate people from their homes. Hundreds of properties are without power and 40 schools are closed.

More rain is forecast for the week. Some 45 severe flood warnings are in place.