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Last Updated: Sunday, 22 July 2007, 13:56 GMT 14:56 UK
'Dangerous' flood waters subside
Buckingham, river Ouse
The river Ouse burst its banks in Buckingham on Saturday
People living in Buckinghamshire have been warned to stay away from flood water as the levels begin to subside.

About 70 homes and businesses were flooded when the river Ouse burst its banks in Buckingham on Saturday.

Bucks fire chief Damian Smith has warned residents to steer clear of the water for safety reasons as the clean-up operation continues.

Fire crews have reported children playing in the water, which could be contaminated with sewage or chemicals.

The Buckinghamshire Fire and Rescue Service said it handled about 55 calls to flood incidents across the county.

Flood aid criticised

Mr Smith said: "Although it may look like fun, playing in this water and attempting to walk through it can be extremely dangerous.

"For a start, there's always a chance that it has become contaminated.

In addition, flood water can force manhole covers to open leaving an open drain underneath - stepping into one of these could cause injury or worse."

River Ouse, Bucks
Aid to flood victims has been criticised by some residents

In the early hours, the river's water level became higher than in 1998, when the town last experienced serious flooding.

Residents forced to leave their homes spent the night in the town's Radcliffe Centre, but some residents have criticised aid provided to flood victims.

Professor David Stevens, whose street was hit by the flood, told the BBC news: "There weren't enough sandbags to be quite honest. We had to stop a lorry to get some off.

"I think if the materials had been available a certain number of people certainly wouldn't have hardly got flooded at all."

'Saving human life'

Robby Punia, whose shop was flooded, said she had a different experience.

She said: "There were millions of sandbags, there were people knocking on the door asking if everyone was ok - in that respect they were very well organised.

Viv Saunders, from Buckinghamshire County Council, said: "2,600 sandbags were handed out of Friday night alone.

"There were still sandbags available yesterday and I would ask people who are feeling disgruntled to try and bear in mind we have to act very quickly as well when these emergencies hit.

"Our prime concern has got to be protecting and saving human life.

" In this emergency situation no one was hurt, we had no casualties, no one required last minute rescuing - it went as smoothly as I think anything like this could go."


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