Prime minister Boris Johnson was accused of doing nothing to help flood victims as he took a break from electioneering to visit one of the worst hit areas.
A resident in flood-hit Stainforth in South Yorkshire told Johnson: “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.”
The woman, clutching a wheelbarrow alongside the troops sent to the area to help, added: “You’ve not helped us up to press. I don’t know what you’re here today for.”
Other residents reportedly shouted: “you took your time” and “where have you been?”
Johnson arrived in the area as nearly 100 soldiers began assisting communities cut off by the flooding.
Personnel from the Light Dragoons laid down sandbags in Stainforth near Doncaster, attempting to shore up the village’s bridge.
The help comes amid fears that further bad weather could be on the way on Thursday, with the Met Office issuing a yellow warning for rain for the whole day covering a vast region from Portsmouth to Hull.
There are 34 flood warnings still in place across England, in locations from Somerset and East Sussex in the South, to as far north as the Lower River Nidd near Harrogate in Yorkshire, and the Holderness Drain in east Yorkshire.
Seven flood alerts are also in place in Wales, where the Met Office is predicting further heavy rain on Wednesday.
But five severe “danger to life” warnings on the River Don in South Yorkshire have been downgraded.
On Tuesday evening, the prime minister warned there could be further flooding across the country after chairing a meeting of the government’s emergency committee.
Johnson also announced relief funding would be made available for those affected by the floods and said that funding for locals councils to help affected households would be made available to the tune of £500 per eligible household.
Up to £2,500 would be available for small to medium-sized businesses which have suffered severe impacts and which are not covered by insurance.
The PM also urged people in affected areas to heed the warnings of emergency services, after some residents in Fishlake remained in their homes despite being advised by Doncaster Council to evacuate.
The announcements came after both Labour and the Liberal Democrats criticised the government’s response to the flooding, which is rapidly turning into an election issue.
We need your help ...
The coronavirus pandemic is changing our world, fast. And we will do all we can to keep bringing you news and analysis throughout. But we are worried about maintaining enough income to pay our staff and minimal overheads.
Now, more than ever, we need a vibrant, independent media that holds the government to account and calls it out when it puts vested economic interests above human lives. We need a media that shows solidarity with the people most affected by the crisis – and one that can help to build a world based on collaboration and compassion.
We have been fighting against an establishment that is trying to shut us down. And like most independent media, we don’t have the deep pockets of investors to call on to bail us out.
Can you help by chipping in a few pounds each month?