COBRA to meet over flooding crisis

Liz Truss
Liz Truss

Downing Street has confirmed that the COBRA (Cabinet Office Briefing Room – used in situations of crisis) will meet again tomorrow (Sunday 27 December 2015) to discuss the flooding crisis which has affected much of northern England as well as some parts of Scotland and Wales.

David Cameron, the Prime Minister, wrote on Twitter:

“My thoughts are with people whose homes have been flooded. I’ll chair a COBRA call tomorrow to ensure everything is being done to help”.

Jeremy Corbyn, the Leader of the Labour Party, said on Twitter:

“Heart goes out to the tens of thousands affected by the floods and huge gratitude to incredible efforts of army, firefighters and volunteers”.

Tim Farron, the Leader of the Liberal Democrats, said on Twitter:

“The Government must look again at the swingeing cuts to departments like DCLG and DEFRA that will be needed to help communities back onto their feet. I want to pay tribute to local councils, the Army, emergency services, Environment Agency and everyone else who is working to hard to help people”.

 

Elizabeth Truss, the Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, said in a statement:

“Over the past 24 hours we have seen very high levels of rainfall on already saturated ground in Yorkshire and Lancashire. This has resulted in rivers rising to historically high levels and severe flood warnings being issued.

I chaired COBR meetings on Christmas Day and this morning to ensure that the best possible preparations were made and that local authorities, emergency services, the Environment Agency and the armed forces were working together to respond.

Late on Christmas Day it became clear that the majority of the rain was likely to fall in Lancashire and Yorkshire.

Therefore the Environment Agency and the army worked through Christmas evening and overnight to move temporary defences, pumps and personnel to those areas.

In both Lancashire and Yorkshire, emergency services and armed forces personnel from 2nd Battalion Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment (2LANCS) have been working round the clock to warn, inform, to protect lives and properties and to evacuate vulnerable communities.

This work continues as we expect further impacts tonight and into tomorrow and beyond.

This is clearly a particularly terrible time of year for flooding to take place and families and business to suffer. I have every sympathy for their situation and I am determined to ensure that affected communities get all the support they need.

I am travelling to affected areas tonight with the Cabinet Office Minister, Oliver Letwin and Chief Executive of the Environment Agency, Sir James Bevan, to ensure that those working on the ground have all they need. A further COBR will be held tomorrow morning”.