Venice isn’t the only place experiencing serious flooding. Parts of northern England are also knee-deep in some of the worst flooding that’s hit the rainy island in years.
Some areas have received what’s usually a month’s worth of rain in just a 24-hour period. On Friday, a woman died after being swept away by floodwater in the east Midlands in central England. In recent days, the United Kingdom’s Environment Agency has put out more than 60 flood alerts, including some ‘‘danger to life’’ warnings, as people have had to evacuate more than 1,200 properties.
Amid the downpour, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has been ruefully absent in the views of many affected residents. Opposition leaders have criticized him for not declaring the situation a state of emergency, which would have accelerated help to flooding areas.
On Wednesday, people had the chance to tell him off — and they did so in very stern British style.
As Johnson toured flood-affected areas, residents heckled and chastised him for not coming sooner.
‘‘It took you over five days,’’ one woman scolded Johnson, as he sat, head bowed, nursing a cup of tea. ‘‘You should have been there Saturday morning, having a meeting, making sure that these people get the help and support. And I’m sorry, but your announcement yesterday was a pittance.’’
On Tuesday, Johnson’s government announced that it would ‘‘provide funding to support the recovery efforts of local councils where households and businesses have been affected,’’ including sending 100 troops to help residents. Funding would be available through recovery grants offering £500 ($640 USD) per household and up to £2,500 ($3,200) per business that qualified.
That didn’t prevent Wednesday’s chilly response.
‘‘I’m not very happy about talking to you so, if you don’t mind, I’ll just mope on with what I’m doing,’’ another woman, wheelbarrow in hand, told Johnson as he toured her town in South Yorkshire, according to the Guardian. ‘‘You’ve not helped us . . . I don’t know what you’re here today for.’’
‘‘Is there anything in particular you’d like us to do to help you?’’ Johnson asked a different resident passing by with this dog.
‘‘Nope, no thank you,’’ the man responded as he walked away.
‘‘You’ve took your time Boris, haven’t you?’’ chimed in another woman.
‘‘We’ve been on it ‘round the clock,’’ Johnson responded.
Scientists have warned that increased flooding is one of the biggest threats facing the UK.
But the left-leaning Guardian, no fan of Johnson’s politics, argued in an editorial Tuesday that all blame can’t be put on the current leadership. A previous conservative leader, David Cameron, they noted, had first cut funding for flood defense and natural adaptation.
‘‘Those residents who have seen homes and possessions destroyed, particularly those who lack insurance, deserve sympathy and assistance,’’ the Guardian’s editorial boards wrote. ‘‘But, as with the catastrophic fires currently raging in Australia, the only rational response to these floods is to redouble every effort to treat increasing climate chaos as the global emergency it is.’’