UK Extreme Weather Update: Water runs out in flood-hit areas

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 by ATCA.

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;" and
. 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 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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