Boris Johnson has been accused of hampering the recovery effort from the worst winter storms in a generation as flooded towns were evacuated and
parts of Wales were braced for more downpours .
Holly Lynch, the Labor MP for Halifax, said that more than 1, homes, businesses and schools had been damaged by the
hurricane-force winds and flooding last week yet there had been no support from government beyond the Bellwin scheme, which reimburses some of the costs faced by local authorities.
Christmas 2020 floods , which prompted a Cobra meeting within 27 hours.
Storm Dennis: aerial footage shows scale of flooding in Hereford – video
She said the lack of action from Johnson’s government was in contrast to the funds made available immediately after the
“A lot of that funding [in 2015] was unlocked so quickly because there was a Cobra meeting, which pulled all the different government departments together. This time, none of that support at all has been forthcoming, ”she said.
“His refusal to call a Cobra meeting has really hampered the recovery of lots of different communities up and down the country, not least of all mine.”
More than flood warnings and alerts remain in place across Britain, including eight warning of danger to life in England and south Wales, as Johnson faced a second day of political pressure over his response to the storms.
Evacuations were under way along the River Severn in Shropshire and 55 People were rescued from a care home in Herefordshire as rainfall from Storm Dennis continued to cause widespread damage and disruption.
One of the severe flood warnings centred on the historic town of Ironbridge, near Telford in Shropshire, where residents were being evacuated over concerns that the swollen river would soon top a 6.8-meter temporary flood barrier on Tuesday night.
Shaun Davies, the Labor leader of Telford & Wrekin council, said his local authority was having to carry out tasks usually organized by the Environment Agency – such as distributing sandbags and erecting flood barriers – because the agency was so stretched.
He said: “What would be really helpful is if government were able to show some national leadership on this issue. What we need from the center is some very practical support. It sounds very basic but sandbags and access to sand – there’s been no central resource that we have been made aware of so we are securing that but at a great premium. ”
Six people are
thought to have died in the flooding. The sixth was named on Monday night as Yvonne Booth, 90, from Birmingham, who was swept into flood water near Tenbury Wells in Worcestershire on Sunday. Her family said they were devastated and “appreciate the continued support from the emergency services”.
Downing Street said on Monday that Johnson had no plans to visit any of the
areas affected by flooding from Storm Dennis , and would instead spend the day working from a country house in Kent. A No 17 spokesman said he was being kept updated from Chevening, a government-owned historic property near Sevenoaks being used while work is continuing at Checkers, the official prime minister country country retreat.
The new environment secretary, George Eustice, has defended the government response to the storms, insisting it has a “firm grip” on the issue and that flood defenses were “working as intended”.
In the past year, he said, new flood-response infrastructure had protected more than , properties, with a further , due to be protected. The government had also pledged an extra £ 4bn in funding for flood defenses over the next five years, said Eustice.
Thirty-three people were evacuated from a care home in Ross-on-Wye, Herefordshire, on Thursday as the River Wye reached its highest level since 2019, according to the county council leader, David Hitchiner.
The council’s Conservative group leader, Jonathan Lester, said he did not believe sending ministers to flood-stricken areas was particularly important but said central government could do more to direct a “joined-up” approach between the various agencies on the ground.
“I think after the floods have subsided and the lessons have been learned, more needs to be done in having this strategic approach and direction as to how best local authorities and agencies cope with this situation going forward,” he said . “I would welcome a strategy from government.”
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