David Cameron says more could be done to prevent floods

David Cameron heard the Environment Agency's early warning system had worked well

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Prime Minister David Cameron has said more could be done to help protect communities from flooding, following last week's tidal surge.

The prime minister was visiting Wells-next-the-Sea in Norfolk to see the damage caused when the tide reached the highest level on record.

Sea defences in the town prevented widespread flooding, but homes and businesses were flooded.

The government has set up a committee to aid the recovery operation.

The committee is headed by Great Yarmouth Conservative MP Brandon Lewis.

Mr Lewis said no extra money was being made available, but the committee would have the power to deploy more resources into areas where extra help was needed.

The committee is due to hold its first meeting on Wednesday.

The surge on Thursday exceeded the level reached in the Great Flood of 1953.

Mr Cameron said: "These were terrible floods and it was a very difficult event, but the resilience of people here in Norfolk must be praised.

"The systems worked well, the flood wardens did a brilliant job and the police, fire service, lifeboats and the whole community pulled together.

Insurance companies

Tidal surge

  • As of Friday night, 199 properties were flooded in Norfolk, Suffolk and Essex.
  • Environment Agency said its defences, including sea walls, tidal barriers and gates protected 79,376 homes.
  • Suffolk, Norfolk and Essex had 33 severe flood warnings; 73 flood warnings and 40 flood alerts. Some 45,958 homes and businesses in the three counties were sent a flood warning message.
  • Water levels were highest in King's Lynn, measuring 6.047m (19ft 10in) above ordnance datum. This was 0.2m (7in) higher than in 1953.

Source: Environment Agency

"This was a bigger flood than 1953 when 24,000 homes flooded - this time only 1,400 homes were flooded.

"But that's no help for the people whose homes were flooded this time."

He said it was important that insurance companies paid out promptly and people had the support they needed to restore their homes.

"There's always more to be done and always lessons to be learned," Mr Cameron said.

"Whether that's personal flood defences that householders can put in, new flood defences the government should be funding or even better working between emergency services and local authorities."

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