UK Extreme Weather Update: Water runs out in flood-hit
London, UK - 22 July 2007, 23:51 GMT
Dear ATCA Colleagues
[Please note that the views presented by individual contributors are not
necessarily representative of the views of ATCA, which is neutral. ATCA conducts
collective Socratic dialogue on global opportunities and threats.]
According to several sources, the key update points are:
1. Drinking water supplies have started to run out in some areas of England
worst affected by the flooding. Severn Trent Water says 150,000 homes are
without water in Gloucestershire, West England, after a treatment works was
flooded. Another 200,000 people could eventually be cut off in Gloucester,
Tewkesbury and Cheltenham.
2. Power supplies to 500,000 people in Gloucestershire are also threatened
and the RAF has been drafted in to protect a sub-station at risk of flooding.
Emergency services in Gloucester are also using sandbags to protect the Walham
electricity substation, but 450 homes in Tewkesbury are already without power,
along with 150 in Gloucester and 150 in Evesham.
3. Prime Minister Gordon Brown has chaired a meeting of government emergencies
committee COBRA involving several ministers and the Chief Constable of Gloucestershire
Police, Tim Brain. Mr Brown will visit flood-hit areas on Monday.
4. Environment Agency Chief Executive Baroness Young has said that about GBP
1 billion (USD 2 bn) a year is needed to improve flood defences. She said
more investment was essential because climate chaos would lead to increased
rainfall, but added: "It will take some time to get flood defences
into place and it won't completely remove the risk of flooding."
Sir Menzies Campbell, the Liberal Democrat leader, agreed more needed to be
spent on flood defences. "It was known for some days that this was likely
to happen. I think there'll be questions asked about the degree of preparedness
there was to meet what is obviously a very, very dramatic outcome," said
Sir Menzies. Conservative leader David Cameron, who has called for a public
inquiry into the crisis, said people wanted to know why flood defence resources
were often miles away from where they were needed.
5. Environment Secretary Hilary Benn defended the government's flood response,
saying conditions were "unprecedented". Mr Benn said there had been
a cut in the Environment Agency's forward planning budget, but capital expenditure
was being increased from GBP 600m to GBP 800m by 2010/11. "This was very,
very intense rainfall, with five inches in 24 hours in some areas, even some
of the best defences are going to be overwhelmed," he added.
6. The Association of British Insurers has said the total bill for the June
and July floods could reach GBP 2 billion (USD 4 bn) as already suggested
7. Severe warnings are also in place for Oxfordshire, Berkshire and parts
of London, and the Environment Agency said "serious flooding" was
likely in Oxford on Sunday night.
8. Water levels in the River Severn at Gloucester are running at a height
of 34ft (10.4m). Flood defences are 35ft (10.7m). Flood water levels are now
said to be at the same level as the 1947 floods.
9. In one of the RAF's biggest peacetime rescue operations around 100 people
in Worcestershire were airlifted to safety over the weekend, while more than
1,000 spent a two nights in emergency rest centres.
10. Despite the heightened risk of flooding to central and southern England,
the Met Office does not have any severe weather warnings in place.
We are grateful to:
. Elizabeth Marshall, based in Wick, Caithness, UK, for "Extreme
Weather's Result: Infrastructure and Harvest Damage plus Rising Food Prices;"
. Aurora Carlson, based on the West Coast, Sweden, for "Climate
Chaos, Potential Human Extinction and Our Thoughts, Intentions & Emotions;"
in response to the ATCA think-piece, "Extreme
Weather: Flash floods Cause Chaos across Britain; Emergency Services in meltdown;
Claims to cross USD 4 billion."
We look forward to your further thoughts, observations and views. Thank
For and on behalf of DK Matai, Chairman, Asymmetric Threats Contingency
ATCA: The Asymmetric Threats Contingency
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