Heavy rains over the last three days have caused rivers to overflow and floodwaters to spread across wide areas of Southern England, forcing thousands to flee to higher ground and bringing ground transportation in the area to a standstill.
The counties of East and West Sussex on the south coast and Kent in the southeast are the worst affected. An environment ministry spokesman told the BBC that they had issued 16 severe flood warnings out of a total of 89, and expected them to remain in place for the next few days, even though the rain has lessened.
Police were evacuating flood victims by helicopter and were manning emergency centers in the areas affected. “The number of people evacuated from their homes is in the hundreds,” an official told the BBC. he also warned people to stay off the roads, as virtually every one in the are is affected.
The floods are causing widespread property damage. In an interview with BBC reporters Jeffrey Salmon, managing director of Salmon Assessors said, “From the number of claims that are coming in this looks as if it is going to be the UK’s costliest natural disaster.”
“On early and conservative estimates, the flooding in southern England is likely to cost insurers over 2 billion pounds [$ 2.9 billion], more than double the cost of the great hurricane that hit the same region in 1987. However, the actual cost of putting damage right could well top 4 billion pounds [$5.8 billion] when you include those who are not insured and will have to pay for themselves,” Salmon continued.
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