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South-west England submerged; flood waters still rising

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South-west England submerged; flood waters still rising

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The British government has promised to spend more than a billion euros a year on flood defences by 2011, as entire towns in the south of England are underwater after days of heavy rain. The River Severn is more than five metres above its normal summer levels, threatening to overflow into the town of Gloucester. Residents are already being evacuated. 50,000 homes in Gloucestershire, Worcestershire and Warwickshire are without power. A major electricty station alongside the River Severn is at risk. 150,000 homes are without a clean water supply now. That’s expected to rise to 350,000 by morning.

Prime Minister Gordon Brown has been to see the extent of the flooding for himself. “We have raised the amount we have spent on flood defences from 450 million euros a year to 900 million euros a year. That has been utilised by the Environment Agency. Now we intend to raise it still further over the next few years, to 1.2 billion euros a year by 2011, “ said Brown.
There’s been panic-buying in supermarkets. Nine flood warnings are still in force with water levels still rising. The emergency services are doing all they can to help the victims. Insurance claims are expected to top 3 billion euros.