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Sunday, April 12, 1998 Published at 17:53 GMT 18:53 UK


Prescott promises help for flooded areas

The forecast says the worst areas will be spared further rain

Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott has promised government aid for people affected by the floods in central England.

After visiting Stratford-upon-Avon, Mr Prescott said he would wait until a full assessment of the damage had been made.

[ image: Prescott praised the spirit of the flood victims]
Prescott praised the spirit of the flood victims
Then, the government would see what lessons could be learned and would do everything it could to help.

Stratford was particularly badly affected by the floods as the Avon rose by eight feet in less than two hours. By Sunday, however, the waters had receded and tourists had returned to the town of Shakespeare's birth.

Huge amount of damage

As the water begins to subside, the flooding has left at least four people dead and caused millions of pounds of damage.

On Saturday night soldiers were called back from their Easter leave to help the emergency services deal with the heavy flooding.

[ image: Many house-holders have no insurance]
Many house-holders have no insurance
Many people are still in emergency centres after being forced out of their homes, and 350 people were without electricity.

A 24-hour emergency centre has been set up to help rehouse people and co-ordinate the relief effort.

Hundreds of soldiers spent the night delivering sandbags to houses still at risk from rising water levels, and shoring up river banks.

Meanwhile, police have arrested a number of looters who were taking advantage of homes that had been evacuated in Northampton.

Five victims

On Saturday police recovered the body of 14-year-old Carl Giles, who was swept out of the back of a milk van in Warwickshire.

Divers found him only 300 yards from where he had disappeared as he tried to earn holiday pocket money.

They also announced the death of a 59-year-old man from Cwmbran, Gwent, who collapsed and died of suspected hypothermia.

A further two deaths were reported on Good Friday.

Police also said they had little hope of finding a woman who fell from a narrowboat into the swollen River Nene at Northampton.

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