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Last Updated: Monday, 23 July 2007, 20:49 GMT 21:49 UK
Town remains cut off by flooding
Flooded Upton pictured from the air
The floods are some of the worst in living memory
Upton-on-Severn in Worcestershire remains cut off after some of the most severe flooding in recent memory.

Water levels in the town and across most of the county have now peaked but are expected to remain high for a few days, the Environment Agency has said.

Basic supplies have been running short, with no milk on sale in any shops.

Firefighters spent the day trying to pump out the Co-op in the town so deliveries could resume. Meanwhile, roads in Worcester are reopening.

People in Bromyard, Herefordshire, are being asked to boil their water.

The request comes after flooding affected a treatment station.

Crops lost

Up to 4,000 residents in and around Bromyard were without water on Sunday evening and during the night after the pumps at the Whitbourne works, near Worcester failed.

The pumps are now working again but people are being asked to boil their water before drinking it or using if for food preparation as a precaution.

Despite towns such as Upton and Malvern being cut off water levels are starting to recede.

A specially set up group, consisting of councils, emergency services and others, is meeting to begin planning for the area's recovery.

Farmers are also suffering with the loss of arable crops.

An NFU spokesman said those in the River Wye flood plain and the Vale of Evesham had been badly hit and may lose their combinable crops if the bad weather persists.

'Worst ever'

A spokeswoman for Hereford and Worcester Fire Service said crews had rescued everyone who wanted to leave homes and premises in Upton, and in nearby Evesham.

She said: "The water has now peaked and it is beginning to recede.

"Crews are standing by just in case anything major happens.

We were impressed by the camaraderie
Neil Parkinson
Air ambulance pilot

"Those who wanted to be rescued have been, and those who wanted to stay have been made comfortable and provided with bedding and food."

Richard Myers, a local butcher and volunteer for the Mercia Inshore Search and Rescue Service, said: "We were fetching people out of bedroom windows yesterday - floating them up New Street on boats. This is the worst I've ever known it."

Some people, including Richard and Sheila O'Connell, from Totnes in Devon, came to Upton to attend the Blues Festival, which started on Friday, and have been trapped there ever since.

Warwickshire and Northamptonshire Air Ambulance (WNAA) flew 250 kg of medical supplies into Upton-on-Severn, where a helicopter touched down in a school playground.

WNAA said it was one of the few places in the town where it was possible to land.

People battle through floodwater in Upton
Basic supplies are running short in the town

Pilot Neil Parkinson said: "We were impressed by the camaraderie there. Fire trucks were waiting to take the supplies off to medical centres and local people formed a human chain to load them up as quickly as possible."

The Bishop of Worcester, Dr Peter Selby, said: "It is rare for a disaster of this kind to affect so much of the country at once, and my prayers are with everyone in the affected places at this difficult time."

Meanwhile, the Environment Agency has defended the way it handled the deployment of Upton's mobile flood defence barriers, which are kept about 40 miles from the town.

The vehicles carrying the barriers got stuck in traffic on the M5 on Friday, and the defences did not reach the town.

The agency said it needed "significant certainty" to deploy the defences effectively, and added that the river levels were so high the water would have gone over the top of the barriers in any case.

'Flood rubberneckers'

Police in Worcestershire have said that opportunist thieves have been breaking into cars left abandoned in the south of the county because of flooding.

A spokesman added that "flood rubberneckers" were also becoming a major problem.

He said many people have been ignoring flood warning signs and pulling up on the roadside to take photographs.

Elsewhere, up to 40 elderly residents were evacuated from a care home near Hereford on Sunday night, the fire service said.

They were taken from the flooded residential home in Fownhope Road, Hampton Bishop, to a nearby school for shelter.

Many other Hampton Bishop residents had to leave their homes on Sunday night after the River Lugg burst its banks.

New Road Bridge in Worcester, the main route across the River Severn which has burst its banks, had to be closed for safety reasons.

It remained closed on Monday lunchtime, despite the fact it is no longer flooded.

A West Mercia Police spokesman said: "The bridge has got to be further surveyed.

"We just don't know whether it's safe yet."

There is a shortage of food and water in the town


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