There was outrage last night over Britain squandering cash on foreign aid
Around £12bn a year is spent on overseas aid, much on anti-flood schemes
This includes £1billion to 20 most corrupt nations, such as North Korea
Flood-hit residents said money should be spent on those who earned it
British aid to the world's most corrupt countries hit record levels last year, despite fears much of it could be squandered, stolen or even diverted to terror groups
PM Cameron blames climate change for the disasters, evading blame on government ineptitude.
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Misery for the residents of towns swamped by flooding - but Britain still sends £1BILLION in aid to the world's most corrupt nations
Streets in the city of York completely under water. No money for the protection of the city. In the meantime, Britain sends billions to corrupt governments, to burnish UK's image or perhaps in some cases to make those governments more welcoming to British business.
Continue reading and see more images of these catastrophes
A belated effort to protect the city of York. Soldiers have been sent to help out.
Rescuing residents huddling in the upper stories of their buildings.
- A resident of Mytholmroyd, West Yorkshire, which has been devastated by floods, suggested that if her town had been in Syria the Government would be 'handing out £50million just like that … We need it here now.'
- The latest figures show the anti-flooding budget is down by 14 per cent compared with last year. Meanwhile, the Mail reveals today how British aid to the world's most corrupt countries hit record levels of more than £1billion last year.
- As the crisis grew yesterday:
- ÷Furious York residents demanded answers from the Environment Agency after its decision to open a key flood barrier left huge swathes of the city under water and hundreds of homes flooded;
- ÷The Prime Minister announced a further 200 troops would be sent to affected areas, on top of 300 already there and a further 1,000 put on standby;
- ÷Forecasters warned of more rain, with the Met Office issuing a severe weather warning;
- ÷Ministers were accused of trying to use climate change as an 'excuse' for the failure to protect dozens of communities;
- ÷Northern Rail advised people in Cumbria, East Lancashire and West Yorkshire not to travel unless absolutely necessary.
Jan Dickinson, whose menswear store Scruples was flooded in Barrowford, said: 'There has been several warning signs over the years and the Government has done nothing about it apart from cross its fingers and hope for the best.'
He added: 'If that means stopping aid or money going elsewhere then that is what the Government should do.'
Janine Lloyd, of Bury, added: 'Never mind foreign aid, what about national aid?'
Last night Simon Danczuk, Labour MP for Rochdale, backed calls for aid money to be diverted to help UK flood victims, saying: 'If we can't sort out our flood problems at home, should we really be helping out elsewhere? The number one priority of any government has to be Britain.'
A £4million plan to protect Kendal in Cumbria was axed. While £2.3billion is being spent on flood protection over six years to help protect a further 300,000 homes by 2021, spending on flood defences in England is due to fall by 14 per cent this year.
The Government has set aside £695million for dealing with flooding and erosion in 2015/16, some £116million less than in 2014/15, according to figures from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, and the biggest year-on-year fall since 2011/12.
It also emerged yesterday that minsters were warned by the Government's own climate change advisers that they needed to take action to protect the increasing number of homes at high risk of flooding – but rejected the advice. The decision came in October, just a few weeks before the flooding in Cumbria.
PM David Cameron is heckled during visit to afflicted areas. People shouted No More Cuts.
PM Cameron with troops sent in to help.
Comedian Jason Manford, who lives in the flood-hit Salford, Greater Manchester, also waded in on the flooding row, taking to Facebook to bemoan the Government for failing to do more to help the flood victims.
He spoke out ahead of a charity gig in Kendal, Cumbria, this evening in aid of the flood victims. He said: 'Not only this Government, but past governments have totally ruined the British landscape with erosive policies and subsidiaries going to the wrong people for doing the wrong thing.
'How can George Osborne live with raking in millions on the VAT victims have to spend on flood defences?
'Owen Paterson, the former Environmental Secretary, had the chance to fix all these wrongs yet they're still paying farmers to rip up trees leaving the land bare and without natural flood defences!
'We, all of the voting public, need to remind our politicians that they are 'in office' not 'in power'. They work for us and need to remember that.'
Emergency financial assistance will now be put in place for affected areas, and homes and businesses damaged by flooding will have access to the same package of support announced for those affected by Storm Desmond.
Residents will have to wait for rescue, which is slow to come in.
In the meantime waters keep rising.
FLOODING IN NUMBERS
- 4,000 residents have been evacuated from their homes in York since the floods began on Boxing Day
- 500 soldiers have deployed to the north of England and an additional 1,000 remain on standby today
- 197 flood warnings and alerts are in place as of 11am today, with 27 warning of a 'danger to life'
- 10,000 homes have been left without power across the north of England in the last 48 hours
- £1.5billion is the total amount the local economy is expected to lose in the Christmas floods, according to financial experts
- 80mph winds are forecast for the country in the next couple of days
- Four inches of rain could hit the already-saturated communities as a new weather front moves in on Wednesday
WHY DID THEY OPEN THE BARRIER?
Anger as hundreds of homes are engulfed. York is left exposed when defences were most needed
As torrential rain caused a dramatic increase in river levels, a decision was made to 'lift' the barrier – effectively removing it from the city's flood defence system when it was most needed.
The Environment Agency said the problem was caused by the adjoining pumping station becoming 'inundated with flood water' and disabling some of the electrics inside. These control the barrier and pumps to contain river levels at times of a flood.
Fearing all pumps breaking down with the barrier in place – which would have made it impossible to discharge excess floodwater from the Foss – the agency took the decision to lift the barrier. But this allowed water from the Ouse to flood into the Foss, causing its level to rise and its banks to burst.
Residents wading through ruined houses asked why such a vital pumping station operating a key component of the city's £10million defence system wasn't better protected.
One resident, Janice Findlay, said: 'We have always felt safe because we have always had that barrier and this is absolutely shocking because it's the first time in 36 years that this part of York has flooded.'
Linda Horsman, 64, who owns two flats in the flood zone with husband Paul, 68, said of the barrier failure: 'It's stupid and it makes me very angry. We are now having to face the consequences.'
Trying to repair the barrier
The Foss Barrier was built in 1987 because floodwater from the Ouse was forcing water back up the Foss and causing it to burst its banks.
A 16.5-ton barrier that can be lifted in and out of position was built to separate the two rivers and isolate the Foss from the Ouse at times of flood.
Eight pumps divert 30 tons of water per second around the barrier to ensure a continuing flow from the Foss into the Ouse and keep river levels under control.
In 2000 – when 500 properties were flooded and the River Ouse reached the highest ever recorded level in York – the Foss Barrier was able protect properties that yesterday flooded.
The Environment Agency (EA) said it was launching an investigation after a decision was made to raise the Foss barrier defence scheme in York, over fears that a failure to act would result in widespread damage to even more homes and businesses.
Mr Waterhouse said the decision to raise the barrier 'was probably the correct one in the circumstances'.
He said: 'I think raising the barrier was the only alternative; otherwise there could have been more widespread flooding or damage to the control room.
'But the question now has to be asked as to what's gone wrong. This barrier has worked well for almost 30 years with no problems.
'What went wrong to cause this situation? That is what needs to be looked at.'
Exhausted: The troops from the 2nd Battalion Duke of Lancaster's Regiment have been working around-the-clock to help rescue residents from their flooded homes. More than 500 Army troops have already been scrambled to help and another 1,000 soldiers remain on standby
MEANWHILE, IN THE UNITED STATES
Freak holiday weather claims 42 more lives: Tornado death toll rises and 7 are killed in Alabama and Illinois flooding. Now as balmy temperatures finally plummet, here comes the snow...
A home in Rowlett, Texas
In the aftermath of Christmas, this, in Rowlett, Texas
'It looks like a war zone,' Zach Thompson, Dallas County Health and Human Services Director, told Fox 4 of Garland.
Garland Mayor Douglas Athas says on his official Facebook page that search teams are still looking through the rubble from an EF-4 tornado.
He said Sunday that search teams would work until they check every building and car. Utility crews were also working to restore power, and about 40 people remained in an emergency shelter.
Athas said he was proud of the city's 'preparedness' and its emergency personnel. He also thanked everyone who'd offered to volunteer and donate.
BUSHFIRES IN AUSTRALIA
Devastating bushfires destroy up to 60 homes off the Great Ocean Road and families in popular tourist town of Lorne find themselves and their horses sleeping on the streets
A huge plume of smoke shows where the large fire burns near Wye River and Separation Creek
A woman tends to horses as children sleep on fold-out beds in the main street of Lorne, south of in Melbourne
PM Cameron is heckled by residents of the flooded area
Outrage over British aid to corrupt governments
Why did they open the barrier?
Cameron blames climate change, not government ineptness
Tornado in the US
Fires in Australia