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Britain deploys troops to help Storm Desmond victims

The UK has been scrambling to deal with heavy flooding, with the army mobilized to help in the clear-up operation. Essential services and transport links were suspended after the downpour.

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Britain deploys troops to help Storm Desmond victims

Soldiers were mobilized after authorities in the northern English county of Cumbria declared a "major incident," after Storm Desmond brought both gales and torrential rain.

Schools were closed on Monday, with many hospital services closed. Scotland and Wales, as well as other parts of northern England were also severely affected, with some 130 severe flood warnings issued nationwide over the weekend. Some 80 of those warnings still remained in place on Monday morning.

In the town of Carlisle, close to the Scottish border, police advised residents to remain indoors with many streets submerged.

Thousands of properties were still without power on Monday, although electricity was being restored to many.

Boats from the Royal National Lifeboat Institution were patrolling the worst-affected parts of Carlisle, using loudspeakers to communicate with any residents needing to leave their homes.

The effects of the storm were also felt further south, with one death reported in London when a 90-year-old man was blown into the path of a bus.

On Monday, Prime Minister David Cameron held a meeting of the government's emergency team COBRA, which is tasked with responding to national crises.

Britain's Environment Secretary Elizabeth Truss said it appeared that a record amount of rain had fallen in a 24-hour period between Friday and Saturday evening.

The stadium of football side Carlisle United, who had been playing an away fixture in London, was also submerged. Players on the way home from the match tweeted that they would be on hand to help out afflicted residents in the surrounding area.

Train services between England and Scotland on the West Coast Main Line were cancelled, with restrictions also in place on major roads.

Britain has suffered a number of heavy floods in recent years, with large swathes of farmland in the south of the country submerged for weeks in 2014. The northwest region was badly flooded in both 2009 and 2005.

rc/msh (AFP, AP, dpa, Reuters)

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