Water levels are continuing to rise across Britain, as the authorities struggle to contain the worst floods in 60 years after days of heavy rain. In Gloucestershire, in south-west England, hundreds of thousands of people could have no clean water for two weeks.
In the town of Tewkesbury a teenage boy is missing. Another man died in a flooded cellar, and the premature newborn twins of a woman who gave birth after becoming trapped by the water also died.
Hundreds of homes had to be evacuated overnight in the central town of Oxford when the River Thames, perilously high for days, broke its banks. “What we are seeing is the River Thames already full, and more water coming down from smaller rivers west of Oxford into it,” said emergency worker Robert Runcie. “The water has nowhere to go so it spills out into the streets.”
The British government minister responsible for coordinating the flood effort, John Healey, has warned the crisis is far from over. He is increasingly worried about the risk of people with no running water falling ill due to no safe way to deal with their sewage. Residents downstream from Oxford, in towns like Henley, Marlow and Windsor have now been told to prepare for the worst.