Leading article: Spirit on the water

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The Independent Online

The Environment Agency has called it a "once in a thousand year" flood. And the impact of this week's unprecedentedly heavy rainfall in Cumbria has certainly been severe. Scores of people have had to be evacuated from their inundated homes. More than a thousand have been left without electricity or hot water. A policeman was killed after being swept away when a bridge collapsed.

But it has to be said that Cumbria has, so far, dealt with this challenge with a remarkable absence of fuss. The emergency services have been working diligently and efficiently, rescuing people by boat and helicopter. Schools have been converted into emergency shelters. Soup kitchens have been set up. Flooded families have been taken in by relatives and friends.

It is heartening to see that the traditional British spirit of "keep calm and carry on" endures, no matter what horrors the weather throws at these islands.

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