Storms and flood disasters

After a weekend of disaster caused by violent storms and devastating floods, it was still impossible last night to reckon the full toll of human life and property, but the death roll in the flooded areas of East and South-east England has reached 108. The following reports summarise the story so far as it can be told at present:-

·Irish Sea: The search for survivors from the Princess Victoria, which sunk about five miles off the coast of County Down on Saturday, continued yesterday, but in vain.

It was officially stated that 133 passengers and crew had lost their lives. Ten of the 44 survivors were members of the crew. All the women and children on board were lost, as were Major John Maynard Sinclair, deputy Prime Minister of Northern Ireland, and Lieutenant-Colonel Sir Walter Smiles MP. Survivors said that, in spite of the pounding by the sea and the lurching of the ship, there was no panic.

·East Coast: It is estimated that at least 60 people died in East and South-east England during Saturday night, when huge seas tore down coastal defences and swept away their homes. Two-thirds of Canvey Island (Essex) was flooded, and the population of 13,000 was evacuated. Many were taken by boats from their housetops.

A number of well-known resorts were affected, as well as villages inland. From Yorkshire to Kent, reports of damage and destruction increased from hour to hour.

The evacuation of the 6,000 inhabitants of Mablethorpe and Sutton-on-Sea, which have suffered heavily from the flooding, was being considered last night.

·Sheerness: The submarine Sirdar (814 tons) was swamped by floods while in dry dock at the naval dockyard at Sheerness, Kent, and later sank. The frigate Berkeley Castle, which was in an adjoining dock, capsized, and the force of the floodwater displaced the main lock gate.

·York: At York Minster, when the gale reached 100 miles an hour, the top half of a pinnacle, weighing a ton, crashed into the roadway.

·Holland: Vast havoc has been done by the flooding of towns and villages. Flushing, the Hook, Rotterdam, and Dordrecht are some of the chief sufferers. Over 60 people are known to have been drowned. American engineers are being sent from Germany to help in repair work.

Damage has also been done by flooding at Ostend, Dunkirk, and other French and Belgian ports.

·Kinloss, in the Moray Firth, recorded gust velocities of 113 miles an hour at 9 o'clock on Saturday morning, and Grimsetter, in the Orkneys, 107 miles an hour. By midday, gusts reached a speed of 101 miles an hour at West Freugh, near the North Channel between Larne and Stranraer and northerly gales had become general throughout the country with the exception of the extreme South-east of England. Warnings of north-west to north gales were in operation last night.

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Storms bring flood chaos

Torrential rain and flooding brought misery to northern Britain yesterday, disrupting transport and forcing some families to flee their homes.

Gerard Seenan

23, Oct, 2002 @1:34 AM

Article image
Flood disasters more than double across Europe in 35 years
Insurance firm research reveals steep increase in flash floods and says rise is in line with climate change

Arthur Neslen in Brussels

19, Jan, 2017 @8:00 AM

Article image
Natural disasters?

Floods, earthquakes, landslides: 2011 has a been a year of disasters. Are we to blame, asks Bill McKibben. Plus survivors' stories

Bill McKibben

01, Apr, 2011 @11:05 PM

Unnatural disasters

The devastation following Hurricane Mitch in Honduras and the economic collapse of Russia, point to the shape of disasters to come. Major global trends, in climate, disease patterns, trade and financial systems will re-map the relationship between disaster and normality for many of the world's poorest nations. As disasters become major determinants of development, not just transient blips on the growth curve, states must completely rethink how they guide their economies and societies to resist these future shocks. Humanitarian agencies and the international system that supports them will have to change radically if they are to measure up to their stated task of alleviating the suffering of the most vulnerable.

11, Nov, 1998 @2:53 PM

Whole of UK on flood alert as storms surge in from Atlantic

A week of extreme weather could end with more flooding caused by violent and unpredictable storms surging across the Atlantic this weekend.

Patrick Barkham

21, Aug, 2004 @11:46 AM

Article image
Expect storms ahead over local flood crisis funds | Peter Hetherington

Peter Hetherington: David Cameron was quick to blame local authorities after the recent floods. But can they cope with worsening weather along with massive cuts?

Peter Hetherington

14, Jan, 2014 @1:00 PM

Maps chart flood risk as Britain braces for new storms

As large parts of Britain face heavy rain and warnings this weekend of a repeat of November's floods, the environment agency today for the first time publishes maps of the flood plains of England and Wales.

Paul Brown, environment correspondent

07, Dec, 2000 @3:54 AM

Natural disasters cost EU £6bn
The costs of environmental disasters in Europe are running at £6bn a year and rising yet the EU is still failing to manage agriculture, transport and energy in a sustainable way, the European Environment Agency says in its annual assessment.

Paul Brown

02, Jun, 2004 @10:51 AM

Flood warnings

If the foresight which prepares for the very worst is not to be regarded as one of the essential qualities of government, this will explain, as the Home Secretary suggested yesterday, why no Government has never thought it necessary to organise a system of public warning against floods.

05, Feb, 1953 @2:47 PM

Article image
Weatherwatch: slower tropical storms are raising flood threat
Falls in the average tracking speeds of hurricanes and typhoons, attributed to global warming, put more lives at risk

Kate Ravilious

14, Sep, 2018 @8:30 PM