Major Rescue Operation Underway
Great Britain is currently experiencing some of the worst weather all year, and many areas are suffering from gale force winds and flooding as a result of it.
One of the worst hit places is Cumbria, where severe floods have forced hundreds of residents to flee their homes and seek shelter in local emergency meeting points.
The search is on for a Police Officer who was swept away by the water today around 4.40am; he was in Workington when a bridge collapsed from under him. Rescue workers are doing their utmost to find the officer who was assisting with the floods. It was one of the two bridges in the town to collapse after rivers burst their banks due to torrential rainfall. The area is being described as “extremely dangerous”.
Flooding cut off the town centre of Cockermouth last night, meaning that around 50 of the 200 evacuees had to be lifted to safety by RAF helicopters. The Emergency Services were assisted by the army to try and cope with the terrible weather conditions, amid what the Environment Agency is calling “record rainfall”.
The Royal National Lifeboat Institution joined the search for the missing police officer just after 6am this morning. After a few unsuccessful hours, they were forced to turn back due to the drastic weather. A liaison officer has been assigned to lend support to the family of the officer.
Everyone is pulling together to rescue those trapped in their homes; local coastguards and fishermen are all using their experience to collect people in boats and take them to safety. So far, no casualties have been found as homes are searched, showing that the warnings put in place prior to severe weather are alerting people to act wisely.
Calls to 999 were failing to get through due to the vast amount of panic, and those affected have been supplied with another phone number to get through to the emergency services.
Cockermouth was reinforced with flood defences after it flooded in 2005, and these were designed to withstand “One in a hundred years” floods, however these failed to protect the area. The current situation is described as a “one in a thousand years” flood – the worst seen in the current generation’s life time.
Kings Cross Escorts are safe in London at the moment, but flood warnings have been given out to other areas of the UK. Many have been affected by severe damage to their homes and electricity is down.