UK gov't holds emergency session on flooding in north


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LONDON (AP) — Hundreds more people were told to leave their homes in northern England Sunday as Prime Minister David Cameron said more troops would be deployed to protect peoples' lives and property after weeks of heavy rainfall caused widespread flooding.

Cameron said after an emergency Cobra ministerial meeting Sunday that the government would "do whatever is needed" to deal with the crisis. He called the rising waters "unprecedented" and promised a full review of contingency plans in the coming weeks.

Police in the York area 200 miles (320 kilometers) north of London advised more than 300 people to leave their homes because of rising river waters.

Several hundred had been evacuated the day before in the West Yorkshire and Lancashire regions and officials said thousands had lost power. The number of people affected continues to grow as flooding spreads and impacts cities as well as villages and towns.

A picturesque 200-year-old pub, The Waterside, in the greater Manchester area, collapsed, with part of the structure swept away by the River Irwell. Rising river levels also threatened downtown Manchester and police dealt with a ruptured gas main and small fire believed to have been caused by the flooding.

The official Met Office weather service indicated that only very small amounts of rain are expected in the flooded areas in the next day. The ground remains heavily saturated, however, leaving it vulnerable to further storms in the coming weeks.

Hundreds of flood warnings and alerts remain in place in parts of England and Wales.

The Environment Agency begged people to be cautious, tweeting that driving or walking in flowing flood waters could be life-threatening. Rescue crews have been using boats to help remove people from their homes.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Gregory Katz

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