UK weather: RAF scrambled to tackle ‘danger to life’ flooding as heavy rain pummels Britain

Matt Drake
The RAF flew in at the request of the Environment Agency: Twitter - RAF Odiham

The RAF has been called into flooded South Yorkshire to bolster defences as more torrential rain is forecast to hit the region.

A military Chinook helicopter flew in bags of aggregate to flood banks in Doncaster on Sunday evening, close to an area of housing which was hit by severe flooding on Friday.

RAF Odiham posted photos of the operation on Twitter, adding: “We’ve asked for military support to move aggregate to the #BentleyIngs area.

“This doesn’t represent a further risk. The aggregate is being used to add further strength to a #flood defence in the area.”

The Met Office has issued five severe “danger to life” warnings, with more heavy rain forecast on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday.

Forecasters have warned residents in northern England that transport disruption and further flooding is likely, particularly in areas where defences have already been breached.

It comes after the former high sheriff of Derbyshire, Annie Hall, died when she was swept away by the River Derwent in Darley Dale.

But the rain on Thursday is forecast to be particularly severe with the Met Office issuing yellow weather warnings across most of the UK, covering the east of Wales, the midlands, the south-east of England and northern England - reaching as far as Newcastle.

Last week around half of the 700 residents of Fishlake near Doncaster – which was cut off by river water – evacuated the village after the River Don burst its banks.

But despite the council urging people to leave, people stayed behind with the local cafe and pub supplying food to those trapped inside their homes.

Doncaster Council said it will not be providing on the ground support to Fishlake as the advice remains for citizens is to leave.

Chief executive Damian Allen said: “We are concerned over reports that some residents remain in the Fishlake area.

“South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue crews are on hand to evacuate any Fishlake residents who may be stuck in their homes, and we would urge everybody to take advantage of this.

“The council are unable to offer on-the-ground support to residents who are in severe flood warning areas, based on advice from the Environment Agency.”

On Sunday, Boris Johnson said he was in “awe” of the resilience of flood-hit communities, but said the flooding is not a “national emergency”.

Jeremy Corbyn, responding on Twitter, said: “Boris Johnson is wrong. This is a national emergency.

“Emergency funds should be released immediately to support families in need and all those affected by the flooding.”

During a visit to Leeds, Mr Corbyn added: “Obviously we need much better flood management and prevention schemes.

“It also means properly funding our fire and rescue services and properly funding our Environment Agency to deal with this.

“The Environment Agency has lost a fifth of its staff, the fire services have lost more than a fifth of their staff. They’re struggling to cope with this.”

In 2012 the Rowntree Foundation warned poorer communities would suffer more from flooding, claiming “there is a north-south divide in extreme socially derived flood-vulnerability in England”.

According to a post by the Yorkshire Party – which campaigns for a devolved Yorkshire Assembly – spending for flood defences per person in London is £180 compared to just £83 in Yorkshire.

Additional reporting by agencies

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