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Wednesday, 24 October, 2001, 07:00 GMT 08:00 UK
Counting the costs of the floods
Cambridge hotel
This Cambridge hotel is now under water
Flood warnings are in place across eastern England and the Midlands on Wednesday, with forecasts of more rain to come.

But the Environment Agency says flood waters are receding following two days of torrential rain.

Home owners and businesses are beginning to assess the damage.

On Wednesday, there were five flood alerts in place in Essex, Cambridgeshire and Suffolk and four in the Midlands in Derbyshire and Leicestershire.

Flood damage

Problems continue in Cambridgeshire where the River Cam remains on a flood warning between Cambridge and Upware.

In Waterbeach, Cambridgeshire, a hotel next to the river is now flooded.

Guests had to be rushed out at breakfast time on Tuesday as the waters came in.

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Hotel manager Alan Jones said: "A lot of the bedrooms are obviously a write-off and there is a lot of structural damage as well.

"It's a case of near enough we might have to knock down and rebuild completely. It all depends on what the assessor says."

Ronni Callaghan lived and worked at the hotel and most of her possessions have been damaged by flood water.

But she remains optimistic: "It could have been worse, it could have been a fire or a robbery.

"Things will dry, it's just stuff. People are being bombed in Afghanistan."

Evacuation centres

It is estimated that the flooding has caused hundreds of thousands of pounds of damage to properties near rivers in Essex and Suffolk.

Cambridgeshire firefighters have rescued more than 90 people since the weekend.

Police said flooding in Cambridge was the worst for 20 years.

Some parts of the region were said to have been hit by a month's worth of rain on Monday alone - nearly 70mm fell in Braintree in six hours.

Evacuation centres were set up in several areas.

Alan Jones
Hotel manager Alan Jones may have to rebuild
Pensioners in Oakington, Cambridgeshire, were temporarily moved to a government centre set up to hold asylum seekers.

Cambridge resident Cynthia Jacklin saw her home devastated by the floods.

She said: "I started to notice it was coming from the side passage and within no time the whole bottom half of the house was covered in water.

'Flooring destroyed'

"I tried to swill it away, but as fast as I was doing it, it was coming through.

"All my carpets and flooring are destroyed and just thrown outside.

"We shall never be able to use them again.

"It's enough to make you cry because you work hard all your lifetime and it's just gone in a matter of hours."

Wednesday's forecast for south-east England was for showers, some some heavy and thundery, but dying away by Wednesday evening.

In the Midlands, Wednesday should bring clear spells for a time with patchy, light rain or drizzle becoming heavy showers later in the day.

The BBC's Emma Howard
"This region stuggles to cope with the worst floods for twenty years"
Elliot Morley, Environment Minister
"We are seeking a solution"
Residents of Halstead, a flooded town in Essex

See also:

23 Oct 01 | England
Picture gallery: Floods
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