Deluge set to continue as floods devastate communities


More heavy rain is expected to hit parts of northern England and Scotland this week as work continues to repair flood damage caused by record rainfall levels in the area.

The Government has faced criticism after multi-million pound defences built following catastrophic floods in 2005 failed to keep the deluge out from people's homes in Cumbria, the county worst affected by Storm Desmond.

In Carlisle, the Army was sent to help support emergency services as they spent a second day evacuating people from their homes in streets where cars were almost entirely submerged.

But while the rain and heavy winds, which prompted the county to declare a major incident, subsided on Sunday, the Met Office issued yellow weather warnings for the rest of the week and forecast "persistent rain".

Following an emergency government meeting on Sunday, Environment Secretary Elizabeth Truss said Cumbria rain gauge figures showed a record amount had fallen in the 24 hours between Friday and Saturday evenings.

It measured 341mm in Honister, which is more than a month's worth of rainfall in just one day and more than the UK has experienced in such a short amount of time.

Ms Truss said more than 2,000 homes and businesses in the county had been flooded and promised further investments would be made to protect the area in the future.

She said: "We are delivering on our manifesto commitment to build 1,400 new flood defence schemes that will better protect 300,000 more homes. That's an extra £2.3 billion of capital investment to help our most at-risk communities."

A tweet from David Cameron added: "The thoughts of the country are with the people in Cumbria and the NW hit by flooding. The Govt is doing everything it can to help them."

The Prime Minister is due to chair an emergency Cobra meeting to discuss the floods this morning.

Almost 60,000 homes in the county were left without power throughout Sunday as the floods damaged sub-stations and caused electrical faults. Electricity North West said that it had restored power to 24,000 homes by the evening.

Water supplies in a number of main towns were also affected by flood water and at least 20 schools are expected to remain closed today.

The disruption has led to the cancellation of appointments and routine services across NHS hospitals and services today. The Cumbria Partnership Foundation Partnership has said it will be running only essential services and more information is available via the website.

In London, the heavy winds caused a fatality when a 90-year-old man was believed to have been blown into the side of a moving bus by a gust of wind, near Finchley Central Tube station.

Cumbria Police also launched a search following reports of an elderly man falling into a swollen River Kent in Kendal.

An appeal by Cumbria Community Foundation to raise £1 million to support vulnerable individuals and families who have been badly affected by the floods is under way and has already raised well over £100,000.

It aims to distribute grants to those most in need to help cover costs of cleaning up, emergency repairs, clothing, food and drink, heating and heating equipment, child care equipment and basic furniture.