June 26, 2007 / 4:21 AM / 12 years ago

Dam collapse fears as floods kill 3

SHEFFIELD (Reuters) - Hundreds of people were being cared for in emergency shelters and temporary accommodation across northern England on Tuesday after their homes were flooded.

Aerial view of the flooded village of Catcliffe near Sheffield, following two days of heavy rain which caused floods in Yorkshire, June 26, 2007. REUTERS/Owen Humphreys

About 1,400 people have been evacuated from their homes following torrential rain across Yorkshire, Derbyshire, Shropshire, Wales and Lincolnshire.

Three people have been killed, including a 14-year-old boy.

People living in Treeton, South Yorkshire, were told on Tuesday to leave their homes amid fears that a dam at Ulley Reservoir could collapse.

It is the second village to be evacuated. Earlier 250 residents were woken by police and told to leave their homes near Rotherham. The M1 was also closed as a precaution.

“We have a real possibility of failure of the Ulley Reservoir wall, the consequences of which would be widespread damage and flooding,” said Jamie Courtney, head of service delivery for the South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue.

Structural engineers were working to shore up the dam and pump out water.

About 1,000 properties were flooded in and around Sheffield, Nottingham, Leeds, Rotherham, Leeds, Shropshire and elsewhere, Environment Secretary David Miliband told the House of Commons.

“The community spirit in all the affected areas ... has been outstanding,” Miliband added.

The Army Forces are on standby to offer support.

The Environment Agency has 25 severe flood warnings in place, with dozens of other rivers and canals on flood alert.

Motorists were advised not to travel unless they had to. Police said the situation was exceptional and council leaders said the unprecedented rainfall had caused millions of pounds of damage.

Among those who died were a 68-year-old man and a teenager in Sheffield and another man, in his 20s, in Hull. Police in South Yorkshire said Ryan Parry, 14, had died after being swept away on Monday by the River Sheaf in Sheffield.

His parents said: “He was a very kind boy who put everyone before himself.

“He was a very adventurous lad and if there was a tree to climb he would climb it.”

The 68-year-old man also died when he was swept away in a torrent trying to cross a flooded Sheffield street.

Slideshow (23 Images)

Prime Minister Tony Blair said: “This has been an extraordinary and very serious event for us.

“Our flood defences are holding but this is a difficult situation and it’s not the first time over the past few years we have been subject to quite unusual and extraordinary weather variations.”

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