Archive for March 7, 2011

HOMELAND SECURITY/CLIMATE CHANGE: U.K. Flooding Exercise

Preparing for the Worst

Imagine parts of London underwater, Britain’s east coast pounded by a North Sea tidal surge and thousands made homeless and stranded by flood-swollen rivers.

That’s what emergency management officials in England and Wales will be doing for the next week as Britain conducts its biggest civil emergency flood exercise to prepare for future cataclysmic flooding predicted because of change, reports The Canadian Press.

The 1.8 million-Pound exercise, called Exercise Watermark, will involve 10,000 people including emergency responders, local government officials and utility companies, according to the BBC. It will be largely a table top exercise, with officials responding to scenarios on which they have not been briefed in advance. However, there will be several live mock rescue efforts, such as evacuating a school, rescuing “stranded” people from rooftops by helicopter. Even so, Britain’s Conservative Party-led government is being criticized for cutting as much as 8 percent from flood prevention/protection projects over the next four years.

The Watermark exercise comes in the wake of disastrous summer floods in 2007 that submerged 55,000 properties and left 13 dead. “Regrettably, one thing is certain, especially with the influence of climate change,” UK Environment Minister Richard Benyon tells The Guardian newspaper, “There will be more floods in the future. The exercise provides a unique opportunity for us to test our responses.”

Looks like British officials are planning ahead for what they perceive as a very real threat while many U.S. politicians are still arguing over whether there really is a climate change trend and if human activities are responsible for it.

Meanwhile, the British Environment Agency has released photos of what projected flooding could look like if the worst happens. Here is one satellite view of London with projected flooded areas in blue.

Worst case scenario for London flooding along River Thames (U.K. Environment Agency/Crown copyright)

March 7, 2011 at 3:28 pm Leave a comment


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