Great Britain

Angry residents blast Boris Johnson for refusing to visit flooded communities ravaged by Storm Dennis

FLOOD-ravaged communities yesterday blasted the PM over Storm Dennis as the death toll rose to five.

Angry residents in Wales and the South West, which bore the brunt of the weekend’s 90mph winds and torrential rain, accused ministers of sending help elsewhere.

One angry councillor asked: “Where is Boris? I haven’t seen him in his wellies reassuring people whose lives have been ruined.’’

Boris Johnson was criticised for refusing to quit his working break at Chevening House, Kent, to chair an emergency Cobra meeting.

About 400 homes nationwide were under water yesterday and hundreds of people were evacuated.

Scores of flood alerts remained including six “danger to life” warnings.

Water levels in some areas are not expected to peak until today.

'DANGER TO LIFE'

Last night, police found the body of Yvonne Booth, 55, from Birmingham.

She had been swept away by the Teme at Tenbury Wells, Worcs, on Sunday.

A man pulled from the river remained in hospital.

Two men drowned off the Kent coast on Saturday.

A man in his 60s drowned in the Tawe, in Ystradgynlais, Powys, on Sunday.

A 42-year-old hill walker was found dead after he went hiking in the Scottish Highlands.

A woman was also missing off Brighton.

In Felinfach, also in Powys, Lib Dem Roger Williams said recommendations from a 2007 report, commissioned after floods claimed 13 lives, had not been carried out.

He added: “Where is Boris? I haven’t seen him in his wellies.”

RAF veteran Gordon Churchill, 96, and daughter Carolyn, 59, were rescued by boat along with his World War Two medals in Nantgarw, Rhondda Cynon Taf.

'LOST EVERYTHING'

Carolyn said: “They were all we saved. I’ve lost everything.”

Amy Price, her parents and their two dogs climbed through a window into the bucket of farmer Tom Jones’s tractor to escape the Usk in Monmouthshire.

Amy, 25, said: “We were trapped for nine hours. There was 4½ feet of water in the house.”

Carolyn said: “They were all we saved. I’ve lost everything.”

Factory worker Andrew Howell, 40, fled his home in Hereford where the Wye reached its highest level on record at 20ft above normal.

The Sun Says

THE Prime Minister is in danger of misjudging the public mood.

Whole communities are under water for the second time in months. But Boris Johnson is nowhere to be seen.

The Conservatives won the election because they promised to address the ordinary worries of real British people.

While lofty Corbyn bored the pants off the nation banging on about obscure foreign policy issues, Boris and his team were beavering away working out how to tackle pesky potholes.

And the country thanked him for it.

But two months on and he’s allowing himself to get distracted.

Instead of calling a Cobra meeting to deal with the floods — or even visiting affected areas — Boris has been discussing HS2 proposals with the Chinese.

It is understandable that the PM is keen on big, bold infrastructure projects which will secure him a legacy.

But his first duty is to solve pressing problems faced by communities which put their trust in him.

For now, Boris must lay his grand ambitions aside.

And put those wellies on.

He said: “I’m surprised no minister has bothered to turn up.

"It would at least show they give a damn.”

Tory Mark Garnier said a PM visit would cause unnecessary fuss, adding: “I’d rather he kept out the way.”

And No10 said the PM was being kept up to date.

Shrewsbury Tory MP Daniel Kawczynski, whose home is at risk, said he has written to the Speaker to ask that Parliament is recalled.

In November, Mr Johnson was blasted for a slow response to flooding in Yorkshire, were he was later heckled while electioneering.

This time, nearly 150 soldiers and reservists have helped shore up flood defences in the region to deal with Dennis and the previous week’s Storm Ciara.

Environment Minister George Eustice tried to defend the Government yesterday as it emerged that just 1.5 per cent of £317billion earmarked for infrastructure projects has gone on flood defences.

The Government said 20,000 homes had been protected thanks to extra investment and further funding would protect another 300,000.

The Department for the Environment and Rural Affairs said its figures showed since 2015 investment per home at risk of flooding was equal to £700 in the North, compared with £335 in the South.

More heavy rain is forecast in the North for tomorrow and Thursday.


100 stuck on vessel

MORE than 100 passengers spent 14 hours overnight on a car ferry unable to leave dock due to Storm Dennis.

The sea was so choppy the Red Funnel could not make its 45-minute crossing from Southampton to the Isle of Wight.

It was due to leave at 7.30pm Saturday but sailed at 9.15am on Sunday.

Passenger Karen Chapman Green said: “It was cold in the ferry terminal but the captain let us all on board to get warm and comfortable. Hot drinks were available and we got a free breakfast.”

The storm also caused transport chaos yesterday as train lines and roads were blocked by flooding and fallen trees.

Great Western Railway, Northern, South Western Railway, Southern, and Thameslink all had delays and cancellations.

Environment Secretary George Eustice says we can't protect everyone- after worst flooding in a generations