London Fire Brigade is working to pump water out of basements and restore normalcy to the area
Hundreds of London residents were displaced when a 36-inch water pipe in Islington burst today at 4am, causing severe floods. London Fire Brigade, who has been working with Thames Water for the past 12 hours, and has finally stopped the flow, causing northbound roads in the area to re-open.
Islington, one of the wealthiest boroughs in London, was under six feet of water since morning. Residents were carried out by fire fighters and relocated to nearby pub,the Steam Passage Tavern. The property damage from the flooding is estimated to be over millions of pounds, as gallons of water filled basements, rooms, and destroyed gardens and fences. Among those owning property in Islington is the Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson.
Firefighters from Islington, Whitechapel, Dowgate, Bethnal Green, Battersea, Shoreditch, and Edmonton stations were called in for damage control, and additional help is being provided by the Metropolitan Police’s marine unit.
A spokesperson for London Fire Brigade told Westminster World: “We are pumping water out of basements into the canal and trying to bring some normalcy to the people who’ve been affected. There are still road closures in place which will be there for some time because of the damage that has been caused by water on the road.”
Images shared on social media showed the fire brigade carrying people out of their flooded homes, and basements and streets submerged under water.
The flooding, one of the worst in recent London history, was caused when one of the biggest “transmission” mains in the area, managed by Thames Water burst, affecting areas like Devonia Road, Charlton Place, and Colebrooke Row. Transport was severely affected by the flooding during rush hour, as the area between Angel Tube station and Islington Green was closed off.
A TfL spokesperson told Westminster World that northbound routes have re-opened. However, Upper Street is still blocked off and the area between Cross Street and Liverpool Street is closed. Nine bus routes were diverted to avoid the flooded Upper Street.
An update from Thames Water two hours ago stated that the burst main has been stopped, and repair teams are in the area to provide support to residents affected by the flooding. Thames Water has issued an apology for the flooding. They are also helping affected residents find alternative accommodation and file for insurance for property damage.
Councillor Claudia Webbe, Executive Member for Environment & Transport, tweeted that she was “deeply upset” for businessses and residents affected by the flooding, and that the Islington Council was working with Thames Water and London Fire Brigade to control the situation.
The Environment Agency had earlier identified areas which were vulnerable to flooding, such as Holloway Road, Finsbury Park, Blackstock Road, the A1, St Paul’s Road and Gillespie Road. This is the second time that London has witnessed severe flooding, as a burst main pipe in Lee High Road flooded Lewisham on 26th of last month. This had led to a sinkhole opening up on the street and trapping a bus full of passengers who were rescued by the London Fire Brigade.
Burst mains was identified as one of the major risks for Islington in the Multi-Agency Flood Plan For London of 2009. The plan outlined that in case of flooding, a Recovery Coordinating Group (RCG) formed of local authorities and other agencies would be responsible for restoring the economy, infrastructure and the environment of the borough.