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Cameron denies neglect as flood sacks northern London




THE British Prime Minister David Cameron yesterday challenged critics who said his government had done too little to combat flooding in northern England.

Cameron donned his “wellies”, as the British call waterproof boots, to walk the flooded streets of York, 320 kilometers north of London as some local leaders accused him of failing to take action.

AP noted that areas of northern England had been inundated with torrential rains in recent weeks, and rivers had crested past their banks, leading to thousands of evacuations in villages, town and even major cities like Leeds and Manchester.

The devastation prompted Leeds council leader Judith Blake to complain that cities in the less prosperous north of England were victims of a north-south divide in the allocation of government’s resources. “We’re beginning to feel that very strongly,” she said, asserting that 2,000 homes had been flooded in Leeds alone over the weekend and some 400 businesses adversely affected.

Cameron used his visit to York to deny that the northern region had been overlooked in favor of London and the affluent regions surrounding the capital. “We spend more per head of the population on flood defenses in the north than we do in the south,” he said, vowing that expenditures would increase in the face of the increasing frequency of extreme weather events in Britain.

The flood waters had eased in many areas but forecasters say more heavy rain is expected tomorrow. The ground is heavily saturated, making the region vulnerable to fresh precipitation.

Some 500 British troops had been helping emergency workers and local residents in the widespread evacuation of towns and cities with 1,000 more on call if water levels rise.

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