Worst floods for 100 years, and there is more to come

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THE GOVERNMENT last night pledged help for areas devastated by the floods which have left five people dead as warnings were issued of the threat of further deluges.

John Prescott, Deputy Prime Minister, said on a visit to several towns in the Midlands that the Government would do all it could to assist the local authorities as they turned to repairing damage estimated at pounds 500m.

He also paid tribute to the "remarkable spirit" of the people who had dealt with Britain's worst flooding for a century.

Speaking in Stratford-upon-Avon - which had been turned into a lake as waters rose by 8ft in two hours - he said: "It's the spirit of the people that's remarkable."

As Mr Prescott saw first hand the effects of the devastation, there were reports that parts of East Anglia were next in line for flooding, with the rivers Nene and Ouse dangerously high.

Police said residents in parts of Peterborough in Cambridgeshire should prepare to evacuate their homes within the next few hours. Troops and police officers would tour the streets ready to help.

A spokeswoman for the Environment Agency said the Nene was expected to burst its banks along a wide area of the city, and hundreds of properties were likely to be hit.

Five people have been killed by the floods. Two people were found dead on Good Friday and police have confirmed another three deaths.

Officers recovered the body of 14-year-old Carl Giles, who drowned when the milk van he was in was swept away by flooding at Eathorpe, Warwickshire.

Another victim, a 59-year-old man from Cwmbran, South Wales, collapsed and died from suspected hypothermia as he walked home. Estelle Lean, 76, was found wandering in a snow-covered field yesterday morning after being missing overnight in freezing conditions.

She was spotted by the crew of the Dyfed-Powys Police helicopter after a major air and ground search was launched after she went missing from her daughter's house near Carmarthen. A row erupted last night amid claims from villagers from Kidlington, Oxfordshire, that they were hit by floods because authorities tried to limit damage to Banbury by opening sluice and flood gates. Insurance companies are preparing themselves for a pounds 500m payout on damage. Meteorologists are predicting that the unseasonably cold weather would continue. The country is likely to have showers of hail, sleet or snow for several days.

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