England flooding an absolute tragedy, says Boris Johnson

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Media captionThe BBC’s David Shukman views the scale of the flooding in the Doncaster area from a helicopter

The prime minister has announced more support for communities in parts of Northern England that have been affected by flooding.

Boris Johnson made the commitment following a meeting of the government’s emergency Cobra committee earlier.

He said the situation was “an absolute tragedy” for those who have seen “such damage to their homes and livestock” .

Labour and the Lib Dems have criticised the government for its handling of the severe flooding.

But Mr Johnson said authorities were working “flat out” and a request had been made for “a little bit more help” from the military in getting sandbags and other defences to some of the areas affected.

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Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn had earlier said the government’s response was “woeful” while Lib Dem leader Jo Swinson called for “long-term policy changes”.

They both urged the prime minister to declare a “national emergency”.

Referring to the response for people affected by the flooding, Mr Johnson added: “I know there will be people who feel that that isn’t good enough.

“I know there will be people who are worrying about the damage to their homes, who will be worried about the insurance situation, worried about the losses they face.

“All I want to say to those people is that there are schemes to cover those losses.”

The Environment Agency has 30 flood warnings in place as well as five severe warnings on the River Don in South Yorkshire.

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