Published: Mon, August 05, 2019
Worldwide | By Lisa Hogan

Work continues on damaged dam as police warn residents they must evacuate

Work continues on damaged dam as police warn residents they must evacuate

Emergency crews in northwest England raced to pump water from a reservoir with a damaged dam Sunday as weather forecasts calling for thunderstorms hastened fear of the structure failing and flooding of a town.

The warning, which was issued at 2pm on Thursday, urges people in affected areas to call 999 if they believe they are in immediate danger.

Sustained heavy downpours across the region have caused flash floods and much of the water has rushed into the reservoir.

Residents evacuated on Thursday told how they grabbed medication and beloved pets when they were allowed to very briefly return home on Saturday, having been warned by police they did so at their own risk. "And till we're past that ... the risk is a fabric risk and that is why we have taken the motion we have now".

On Friday afternoon, residents were told not to expect to return to their homes while there were still fears that the dam could further collapse.

Some 1500 residents of Whaley Bridge have been evacuated in case the dam holding back the 1130-litre Toddbrook Reservoir fails.

In a statement on their website and Twitter, Derbyshire Police wrote: "The decision has today, Sunday 4 August, been taken to stop allowing evacuated residents back to their homes in Whaley Bridge".

Yesterday, the risk of collapse remained "critical" despite pumps being installed and military Chinook helicopters continuing to drop bags of ballast to shore up the dam wall.

She said: 'It is a critical situation at this point in time.

Water flowing into Toddbrook Reservoir was "reduced considerably" overnight.

In total these 22 households amount to 31 people who have each been visited by police to advise them to leave the town in a bid to save their lives.

Six firefighters and two appliances from a Corby have been sent to Whaley Bridge in Derbyshire where a collapsing dam is threatening to engulf a village.

"There are also a total of 16 high-volume water pumps which have been installed in the reservoir, in order to reduce the water levels", officers said.

Commuters travelling on the Liverpool to Norwich route are being advised not to travel as the service is being disrupted relating to the evacuation of the Derbyshire town of Whaley Bridge.

Emergency workers have been rushing to lower the water level behind the 180-year-old dam to relieve pressure, and have blocked off inlets to the reservoir to prevent more water from entering.

Fire brigade chief Terry McDermott said the engineers working to fix the dam were "very unsettled" by the current situation.

The Canal and River Trust said water in the reservoir needed to get down to 8m below the normal level.

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