23 Nov 2009

UK flooding prompts major bridge safety check

4:29 pm on 23 November 2009

The safety of all 1,800 bridges in the British county of Cumbria is being reviewed after severe flooding caused by heavy rains extensively damaged homes and roads.

Six bridges have already collapsed and a bridge in Workington, which may be about to fall, has been condemned.

People have been advised not to return to more than 1,300 homes.

And in Ireland, about 150 troops have been deployed to deal with floods that submerged large parts of the south and west.

Thousands of people in Ireland's second largest city, Cork, were left without drinking water.

Saturday was England's wettest day on record, with 314 mm falling within 24 hours in one area. The Environment Agency called it a "one-in-a thousand-years" flood.

Police constable Bill Barker died on the eve of his 45th birthday when a bridge collapsed underneath him as he directed motorists away from the crumbling structure on the river Derwent in Workington.