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UK services join forces to create large-scale flood response exercise


The largest-ever flood response exercise is set to take place in the UK this week, according to BBC News.

Exercise Watermark will see emergency services, utility companies and local communities take part in a disaster scenario - in an attempt to avoid the severity of damage seen over the past five years.

However if it does, home-owners should be able to rely on insurance professionals to compensate for any losses.

The flooding exercise will involve up to 10,000 people in a range of English and Welsh towns, which will test evacuation procedures based on scientific predictions of which rivers' banks will burst, and where water is likely to lie the longest in a flood situation.

People in Yorkshire, the Midlands and the West County have previously been the biggest casualties of flooding, and they have heavily relied upon insurance policies to salvage what home contents they could.

This was particularly true in summer 2007, when up to 7,000 businesses in Gloucestershire were affected; and also in 2009, when homes in Cumbria were flooded.

Speaking to the Yorkshire Post, Colin Atkinson, an Environment Agency (EA) spokesman for Yorkshire, gave his view on the project: "We can never fully eliminate the risk of flooding, so it's vitally important that we ensure that if and when a flood does occur, we are ready to respond and protect people and property."

EA chairman, Lord Chris Smith, added that as many as one in six properties across England and Wales are at risk from flooding.

As part of the operation, RAF helicopters will rescue passengers from the roofs of stranded buses at Lake Bala in Gweynedd. Boats will help people standing on submerged areas and caravans in Tattershall country park, Lincolnshire; and instant flood defences at schools will also be tested.

The full-scale emergency exercise was created on official recommendation by Sir Michael Pitt - who reviewed the 2007 floods.


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