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Britons Begin Recovery After Worst Floods in Half-Century

Associated Press
Wednesday, July 25, 2007

BUSCOT, England, July 24 -- Gasoline-powered pumps roared into action Tuesday as stunned Britons tried to dry out their houses after the worst flooding in more than half a century.

Downstream from the worst-hit areas, residents nervously watched river levels, fearing that the runoff from the floods could inundate new areas of western England.

One man drowned Tuesday after jumping into a rain-swollen river. And a woman trapped in her home in the town of Tewkesbury lost twins when she went into labor prematurely and paramedics could not reach her by land. Two Royal Air Force helicopters were sent, but the babies died at the hospital -- premature at 21 weeks, police said.

Police in Tewkesbury were looking for a 19-year-old man who disappeared after leaving a pub Saturday as flooding increased.

Sunshine helped lower water levels Tuesday, but more rain was expected in the next few days. Forecasters said more flooding was not expected.

Queen Elizabeth II sent a message of support to flooded areas, saying she was "shocked and deeply concerned" by the damage.

About 350,000 people in the Gloucestershire region, the most severely affected, remained without drinking water, relying on supplies brought in by emergency workers.

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