Extreme Weather: Flash floods Cause Chaos across Britain; Emergency Services in meltdown; Claims to cross USD 4 billion

London, UK - 20 July 2007, 23:34 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.]

Torrential rain and thunderstorms struck Britain on Friday, causing traffic chaos, forcing television stations off the air and trapping people in homes and offices. At Heathrow Airport, Britain's busiest, more than 140 flights were cancelled because of the rain. The torrents were the second to hit Britain in a month. As what is already the wettest start to the year on record got even wetter, homes flooded, rail companies cancelled services and police reported a slew of weather-related car and truck crashes. Some parts of the UK were drenched with three times the monthly average rainfall in just a few hours.

Emergency services were inundated with calls from drivers trapped on flooded roads. During the peak of the downpours -- when four inches of rain fell in an hour -- the 999 system went into meltdown. Sweeping in from the southwest, the rain struck first in southern and central England and Wales, disrupting the great planned holiday getaway for thousands. Services on more than half a dozen rail companies were severely affected and more than 20 London Underground stations were closed due to flooding.

Around the country, homeowners reported rising floodwaters and burst sewer mains. Electrical lines crashed, cutting off power to homes and offices. Some of the country's TV stations went briefly off the air as transmitters went down. Computers froze in offices. The Thames Valley was one of the worst affected regions with dozens of homes in Swindon, Reading and Maidenhead deluged. At least 220 homes were swamped with sewage, and Thames Valley Police declared a "critical weather emergency."

Regional Fire and Rescue Services said they had been inundated by calls about "incidents caused by the extreme weather conditions." Some Fire and Rescue Services received more than 200 calls in a couple of hours. Drivers were warned to keep their distance from other traffic as the torrential rain caused a record spate of accidents.

With the rain clouds moving slowly north, the rain is expected to hit Scotland and Northern Ireland late Friday and over the weekend. The UK Environment Agency has flood warnings in place covering many parts of England and Wales. The latest bad weather came after seven people died in floods in June and thousands of people are still homeless after flood damage. In June floods swamped more than 30,000 homes in the UK South West, Midlands and Yorkshire.

The Association of British Insurers (ABI) has already estimated that general insurers will have to pay out a total of GBP 1.5 billion in weather-related claims after the devastating floods of three weeks ago. With the latest bout of flooding, the insurance claims are likely to cross GBP 2 billion, ie, USD 4.1 billion.


We look forward to your further thoughts, observations and views. Thank you.

Best wishes

For and on behalf of DK Matai, Chairman, Asymmetric Threats Contingency Alliance (ATCA)

ATCA: The Asymmetric Threats Contingency Alliance is a philanthropic expert initiative founded in 2001 to resolve complex global challenges through collective Socratic dialogue and joint executive action to build a wisdom based global economy. Adhering to the doctrine of non-violence, ATCA addresses asymmetric threats and social opportunities arising from climate chaos and the environment; radical poverty and microfinance; geo-politics and energy; organised crime & extremism; advanced technologies -- bio, info, nano, robo & AI; demographic skews and resource shortages; pandemics; financial systems and systemic risk; as well as transhumanism and ethics. Present membership of ATCA is by invitation only and has over 5,000 distinguished members from over 120 countries: including 1,000 Parliamentarians; 1,500 Chairmen and CEOs of corporations; 1,000 Heads of NGOs; 750 Directors at Academic Centres of Excellence; 500 Inventors and Original thinkers; as well as 250 Editors-in-Chief of major media.

The views presented by individual contributors are not necessarily representative of the views of ATCA, which is neutral. Please do not forward or use the material circulated without permission and full attribution.

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