Flooding emergency in England

Last updated 07:33 12/02/2014

British Prime Minister David Cameron visits areas of extreme flooding in the United Kingdom. Nathan Frandino reports.

Dutch engineers help with UK floods

England storm
Reuters Zoom
Storm waves crash over the Longships Lighthouse just off Lands End on February 12, 2014 in Cornwall, England.

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British Prime Minister David Cameron says that money is no object in the fight against the mass flooding that has hit parts of England and that he is cancelling his visit to the Middle East to oversee the effort.

Cameron said overnight (NZ time) "whatever money is needed for this relief effort will be spent" as Britain deals with some of its wettest weather in 250 years.

He also says a planned to trip to Israel in mid-February would be cancelled.

England had its wettest January since 1766 and its southwest coast has been battered repeatedly by storms.

Around 5000 homes have been flooded, with some remaining under water for more than a month. The River Thames burst its banks, flooding riverside towns upstream of London.

Britain's two-party coalition government is coming under increasing pressure over its response to the floods with critics saying the problems have been exacerbated by years of underinvestment in river dredging and flood defences.

Cameron in particular has endured heavy criticism from those affected for what they say is his government's slow response.

A total of 1600 troops are on standby to help, and some were  already at work filling sandbags in Wraysbury, where one resident  had a bitter exchange with Defence Secretary Philip Hammond.

Su Burrows, a volunteer flood warden, said the relief effort had  been left to residents like her and pleaded with Hammond for  military help to distribute sandbags.

''I'm sorry, I am going to get emotional. There are 100 people of  this village currently working together, none of them (Environment  Agency) agents, not one,'' she told him in the exchange on Sky News television.

Burrows said later her blast seemed to have borne fruit, as 2000  sandbags were sent to Wraysbury, followed afterwards by 100  soldiers. 

- agencies

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