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England flooding: River warnings and rail delays continue

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Media captionDrone footage filmed from Matlock shows the extent of the floodwater

Severe flood warnings and rail cancellations remain in areas of England flooded after a month’s worth of rain fell in a single day.

Derbyshire and South Yorkshire have been worst hit by the floods, which claimed the life of one woman swept away in a river near Matlock.

Seven severe flood warnings – deemed a threat to life – remain on the River Don in South Yorkshire.

Meanwhile, trains are not running in parts of the East Midlands.

Services are cancelled on the Matlock-Derby-Nottingham route and diversions are in place between Derby and Chesterfield, adding about 30 minutes to journeys.

Image caption The River Derwent burst its banks in Derby city centre

In Derby city centre, a number of properties were evacuated on Friday night after the River Derwent burst its banks and officials said a city-wide evacuation had been considered.

Matt Lee, from Derbyshire Fire and Rescue Service, said: “All the partner agencies were in contact and had regular meetings to discuss the threat to Derby city that was a very real threat.

“We were very concerned we might have a city centre evacuation.

“Fortunately it [the River Derwent] didn’t burst its banks to the extent we thought it was and disaster was averted.”

The A52 – the main road route into Derby – is closed in both directions between the city and the M1 along with a handful of smaller roads in the county.

Image caption Volunteers are helping with the clear-up at Belper Town Football Club

A clear-up is under way at Belper Town Football Club after it was flooded on Friday afternoon.

Director of football Andy Carter said he was confident things would be back to normal by the club’s next home game in a week.

In Worksop, Nottinghamshire, water levels are receding after 200 homes and businesses were evacuated on Thursday evening.

Bassetlaw District Council said it had closed its emergency rest centre as everyone who had left their homes were with friends and relatives.

Image caption An evacuation was ordered when part of a cliff gave way on Thursday

Residents from 12 homes in Mansfield, Nottinghamshire, are still unable to return home after a mudslide on Thursday led to 35 properties being evacuated.

Emergency work to secure a cliff at the former Berry Hill Quarry site is due to start later.

The River Don, which flows through Sheffield, Rotherham and Doncaster, hit its highest recorded level at just over 6.3m (21ft), higher than it was in 2007 when it also flooded.

Image copyright AFP/Getty Images
Image caption Rescuers used boats to reach people trapped in Rotherham

People continued to be rescued from flood-hit towns and cities on Friday.

One man told the BBC he carried children from his gym in Rotherham, wading through water that had submerged the streets outside.

“The whole of the gym was completely flooded in water,” said Neil Wilson.

“We had to wade through water to get children to the cars so they could get home with their parents.

“The way the car park is it’s a bit deeper, so when we were carrying kids to the car it was coming up above our knees.”

But there was better news overnight into Saturday as the torrential downpours abated.

Met Office meteorologist Steven Keates said: “I think the most important thing is that the areas which have been affected by floods should avoid rain and get some respite.”

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Children and pets were carried to safety as people evacuated their homes in Doncaster

On Friday, the floods claimed the life of a woman who was swept into the River Derwent at Rowsley in Derbyshire.

Her body was found about two miles away in Darley Dale.

Derbyshire Police said her family had been informed and formal identification was yet to take place.

Every time there’s serious flooding, questions are asked about why it was allowed to happen.

One simple answer is governments of all parties have been accused of not spending enough on protection.

You can build walls along river banks and many places have been guarded this way but such ‘hard defences’ are expensive and obtrusive.

An alternative is to employ what are known as soft defences. These include encouraging farmers to manage their land in ways that let fields hold back floodwater.

Driveways and car parks can be surfaced with materials that allow it to reach the soil underneath.

Another option is to make homes more resilient – fitting exterior doors with waterproof plastic panels, sealing the ground floor and raising fuse boxes.

In some ways the country has become better prepared for flooding but lessons are not always learned and the misery for many keeps being repeated.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson visited Matlock on Friday and said: “People have been moved out of their homes and probably hundreds of businesses have seen damage to their properties.

“We stand ready to help in any way that we can.”

On the cause of the flooding, he added: “We are seeing more and more serious flooding – perhaps because of building, almost certainly because of climate change.

“We need to prepare and we need to be investing in those defences.”

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