29th December 2015
The cost of flooding from storms Desmond and Eva could reach £1.5bn, analysts predict, as parts of the UK brace themselves for more damage from impending storm Frank.
Storm Frank is set to hit from Tuesday evening onwards, with Cumbria, south and central Scotland most at risk, according to the BBC.
There are nine severe flood warnings – meaning “danger to life” – across England and Wales, most of which are around York which is still reeling from Saturday’s floods.
The Scottish Environment Protection Agency says Storm Frank may cause flooding in Scotland and Wales is also preparing for heavy rainfall.
The Met Office has issued amber weather warnings – meaning “be prepared” – for rain in Strathclyde; Central, Tayside and Fife; Dumfries, Galloway, Lothian and Borders; and North West England for Wednesday.
Ireland has also issued weather warnings ahead of the arrival of Storm Frank – two orange and two yellow, both for wind and rain.
Floods minister Rory Stewart told the BBC Today programme that the £2.3bn being spent on flood defences over six years would allow the government to plan for the long term.
He said: ”There are going to be different parts of the country where people are going to be pushing for bigger schemes.”
“We have to try to be fair, we’re putting a lot of money into this and we’re making sure we’re spending it in the most cost effective way we can.”
Hundreds of soldiers have been sent to help in flooded areas as thousands of people were forced to leave their homes.
From claims reported by noon yesterday (Monday 28 December) leading rural insurer, NFU Mutual, estimates that the weekend’s devastating floods centred on northern England will lead to claims costing at least £5m – £10m.
The figure may rise further as more bad weather is expected later in the week and the number of reported flood claims is likely to increase over the coming days as people return to their homes.
NFU Mutual, which insures over 75% of UK farmers and thousands of rural homes and businesses, has launched its emergency claims plan to speed help to its policyholders and is already dealing with over 100 flood claims.
Matthew Scott, chief claims manager at NFU Mutual, says: “Based on what we are hearing from our network of offices across the UK, the flooding across many parts of northern England and north west Wales could be the worst for several years. As a result of this, we have activated our emergency plan and our staff and agents are working hard over the Christmas period to support their local communities.
“Having a local presence means we’ve been able to react quickly and provide immediate assistance to families and businesses in all of the areas worst affected by Storm Eva.
“This is a particularly cruel weekend for anyone to be affected by a flood and our first priority is to help get our policyholders and their families back into their homes and workplaces as quickly as possible. We have teams of loss adjusters ready to assess the damage and arrange repairs as soon as the floodwaters have subsided.
“Our priority is to make contact with all seriously-affected homeowners and businesses. We are making emergency payments of £500 – or more if necessary – and arranging emergency accommodation for people who are unable to stay in their homes.”Mark Shepherd, ABI manager for general insurance policy, says:
“Insurers will be doing everything possible to help customers hit by the latest floods. They will be operating 24 hour emergency helplines to give customers immediate advice and help.
“As they have been doing in Cumbria, where needed they will make emergency payments and arrange temporary alternative accommodation or business premises. As soon as flood waters recede and it is safe to do so they will be assessing damage and start the drying out process.
“Sadly there was also flooding over the Christmas and New Year period in the winter of 2013 and we saw then that many loss adjusters were on the ground the same day to help people affected.”