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Cameron announces relief package for flood-hit Britons

English.news.cn   2014-02-13 06:15:28

LONDON, Feb. 12 (Xinhua) -- British Prime Minister David Cameron on Wednesday announced a comprehensive relief package for flood-ravaged homeowners, businesses and farmers, as strong wind and heavy rain continue to batter large parts of the island nation.

New measures in the aid package include a 5,000 pound "repair and renew" grant for all affected homeowners and businesses, a 3-month business rate relief for affected businesses, and a 10-million-pound fund for farmers.

In addition, more than 750 million pound bank loans will be provided to support business and individual customers affected by floods, according to a statement from the Prime Minister's Office.

Cameron also pledged to deploy more military personnel to help with the relief effort, assisting communities and emergency response teams on the ground by consolidating sandbags and building flood defenses.

The British Department for Transport will provide 31 million pounds to sponsor 10 railway resilience projects in the worst-hit southwest region, the statement said.

"Britain is facing one of its wettest winters in two and a half centuries and some of the worst flooding in decades," Cameron said in the statement, following a visit to some of the worst-hit areas in the country's southwest.

According to the Environment Agency, a total of 16 severe flood warnings and 129 flood warnings remained in force as of 12 a.m. Wednesday, with Windsor, Maidenhead and some communities along the river Thames still at high risk of flooding in the coming days.

"This series of winter storms has been exceptional in its duration, and has led to the wettest December to January period in the UK since records began," the Met Office, Britain's National Weather Service, said in a research paper.

Cameron's relief package came amid public outcries over British government's lack of response to the unprecedented calamities, with some media reports decrying the authorities lavishing billions of pounds for foreign aid projects while leaving their own flood victims in suffering.

The Daily Mail newspaper launched a petition on Tuesday to ask government officials to "divert" part of the country's generous foreign aid budget to help its own citizens affected by the floods.

Editor: Mu Xuequan
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