Elderly man drowns as heavy floods hit England
AN ELDERLY man drowned in the river Kent in Cumbria as Storm Desmond caused severe flooding in England yesterday.
Thousands of homes were left without power and British Prime Minister David Cameron said that the government would fully reimburse councils for the costs of dealing with flooding.
Mr Cameron said there were some levels of rainfall that it was "extremely hard" to protect against.
Storm Desmond saw some parts of Cumbria hit with 341mm of rain - more than a month's worth - in 24 hours, which has left more than 2,000 homes and businesses flooded.
Mr Cameron said: "First of all our hearts must go out to families who have been driven out of their homes by floodwater, many of whom will have had a very worrying 48 hours stuck in their homes and I think the emergency services have done a brilliant job.
"What we must do now is make sure everything is done to help in this vital phase of dealing with the floods.
"Then there's the vital recovery phase where we need to try and help people get their insurance claims and help people get back into their homes.
"We should sit down again with the Environment Agency and look at the flood schemes that have been built, look at the ones that are planned... and ask what can we do, what's in the plan for the future and how does that need to change."
The rail and road network in northern England and Scotland has been severely disrupted by Storm Desmond.
No services ran between Carlisle and Scotland yesterday due to flooding and a landslip. This section of the West Coast Main Line is expected to be closed until tomorrow.
Virgin warned passengers that no replacement road transport would be available due to the severe weather conditions.
The operator advised travellers to use services from London or Birmingham to Edinburgh via Newcastle.
Lancaster station is closed due to a power cut, although trains will be able to call at the station during daylight hours.
The Caledonian Sleeper will be diverted via the East Coast Main Line tonight and will not call at intermediate stations between London and Glasgow/Edinburgh.
Roadside assistance companies reported a spike in the number of motorists left stranded by the flooding. The AA has 50 patrols in action across Cumbria and brought in special 4x4 resources to help with more than 70 breakdowns.
Edmund King, AA president, said: "Most of the roads are very hard to access due to submersion. In some areas of Cumbria, where possible we are asking members to call back once the flood water has subsided."