Sunday, April 18News For London

Cumbria floods – NHS cancel appointments and calls for volunteers

There is an urgent need for extra doctors in Cumbria after the Storm Desmond.

Cumbria floods. photo credit: @lozwinterCumbria floods. Photo credit: @lozwinter

NHS services in Cumbria have taken the decision to cancel non-urgent appointments after the floods of last weekend.

The army has been brought in to help medical staff reaching hospitals as bridges collapsed and many roads were under several feet of water. The NHS has made an urgent call to draft in volunteer doctors to cover shifts.

It was an unprecedented amount of water; a month’s rain fell in a 24-hour period. The floods have disrupted schools and medical services, forcing hospitals to run on reserve generators. As the water rapidly rose, thousands of people were evacuated last weekend with more than 5500 homes left without power.

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Different charities are in the area to support the local residents.

Derby Mountains Rescue team sent members to help the local police evacuate people from their homes.

David O’Sullivan, Press Officer of Derby Mountains Rescue, said: “The team was in Carlisle for 24 hours between Saturday and Sunday and teamed up with the Penrith Mountain Rescue. The water rose quickly overnight. We worked alongside the police, fire service and medical staff. It was a big group effort and each team applied their own set of skills.”

The Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) has also joined the rescue operations in Cumbria.

Chris Missen, RNLI volunteer, travelled from Wales to offer his support. “We’ve probably assisted 200 people since we arrived in Carlisle and there are at least another 200 who still need our help. The scale of this isn’t like anything I’ve seen before; it’s relentless. I’ve been involved in six other flood rescue operations with the RNLI and this is by far the worst. It’s unprecedented,” he said.

Prime Minister David Cameron chaired a COBRA emergency meeting today to address the situation. “The Government is doing everything it can to help those who have seen their homes flooded – and to try and prevent further damage”, he said.

The situation could get worse as heavy rainfall is threatening the North West of England and Scotland for the rest of the week.