Resident tells PM on floods visit: 'You took your time, Boris' – The Guardian, Google News

Boris Johnsonhas been accused of doing nothing to help flood victims as he visited one of the worst hit areas and told residents: “We’ve been on it round the clock ”.

The prime minister appeared in Stainforth, in SouthYorkshireas 100 soldiers were deployed to help shore up the region’s battered flood defences.

One resident told Johnson: “I’m not very happy about talking to you so, if you don’t mind, I’ll just mope on with what I’m doing.” The woman, clutching a wheelbarrow alongside the troops sent to the area to help, added: “You’ve not helped us… I don’t know what you’re here today for.”

Another told him: “You’ve took your time Boris, haven’t you?”, To which Johnson replied: “We’ve been on it round the clock.”

Another Stainforth resident wasfilmedtelling Johnson that he should have visited earlier, saying: “It took you over five days, you should have been there Saturday morning , having a meeting, making sure that these people get help and support. And I’m sorry, but your announcements yesterday were a pittance. ”

She called on Johnson to support those looking to help and to show that he can make a difference, adding: “It hasn’t been demonstrated yet.”

The prime minister chaired a meeting of the government emergency committee Cobra on Tuesday night following pressure from opposition leaders to get a grip on the crisis, which affected communities in South Yorkshire, the East Midlands and Lincolnshire.

About 400 homes have been flooded and more than 1, 200 properties evacuated across parts of northern England in the past week, according to the Environment Agency.

Speaking to reporters in Stainforth on Wednesday, Johnson said: “I perfectly understand how people feel and you can understand the anguish a flood causes.

“The shock of seeing your property engulfed by water is huge and also the anxiety of what may still be to come and I do thank the emergency services for everything they are doing.”

Johnson arrived in the area as nearly 100 soldiers began assisting communities cut off by the flooding. Personnel from the Light Dragoons laid down sandbags in Stainforth nearDoncaster, attempting to shore up the village’s bridge.

Weather warnings are in place for much of England and part of Wales on Thursday amid fears thatthose worstaffectedwill be hit for a second time, hampering the recovery effort.

Five of the most serious “danger to life” alerts were stood down along the River Don in South Yorkshire on Tuesday, but 20 flood warnings remain in place and further downpours are forecast for Thursday.

A Met Office yellow weather warning for rain stretches across much of the country over the next 48 hours, with flood-hit parts of South Yorkshire and Lincolnshire likely to bear the brunt.

The agency said there was a small chance that communities in the region could be cut off completely, perhaps for several days, with a small chance of fast-flowing or deep flood water causing a danger to life.

The Met Office said there was a small chance of extensive flooding to homes and businesses and a slight chance of power outages.

The recovery effort was already well under way on Tuesday when, under pressure from opposition leaders, Boris Johnsonannounced a package of measuresto help.

Following the Cobra meeting on Tuesday, the prime minister announced funding “to support the recovery efforts of local councils where households and businesses have been affected”.

Aerial footage shows Yorkshire houses partially submerged by flood water – video

As well as the deployment of 100 armed forces personnel, the government said a community recovery grant would be available to local councils, equivalent to £ 500 per eligible household, and businesses would each be eligible for up to £ 2, 500.

Johnson said it had been “an absolute tragedy for those who have seen such damage to their homes and livestock” and that the country had to prepare for more floods this winter because the ground was so waterlogged.

The prime minister faced criticism for refusing to acknowledge the seriousness of the situation on Friday night, when he said the floods were not a national emergency.

The recovery in the village of Fishlake, near Doncaster, is expected to take weeks. Residents have been advised to leave their homes and evacuate the village, though many have stayed put.

The Labor leader, Jeremy Corbyn, and the Liberal Democrat leader, Jo Swinson, visited Fishlake on Tuesday, outlining pledges to spend £ 5.6bn and £ 5bn respectively on flood defences.

Sue Marshall, who has been unable to return to her house since she was evacuated on Saturday, said she hoped the political visits would lead to real help for those affected. She feared being flooded on Thursday, when more rain is forecast.

“I’ve just said to Jo Swinson that it’s all very well her doing this but in a month’s time we’re going to be old news,” she said. “What we need to know is that in two months’ time, the MPs will revisit this and look at what has been done to stop it happening again. And my immediate concern is what are they doing now to stop it happening on Thursday. ”

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