British authorities have ordered 6,500 people in northwest England to evacuate a town over concern a dam wall holding a reservoir could burst following days of heavy rain.
The Derbyshire Police said residents of Whaley Bridge should leave the town after Britain’s Environment Agency said the incident “currently poses a significant threat to life.”
The Environment Agency has issued a severe flood warning for the area, saying river levels in the River Goyt which runs through the town could rise rapidly.
‘Unprecedented, fast-moving, emergency situation’
Police have advised residents to gather at a nearby school or stay with family and friends, and to take pets and enough medication for a number of days.
“We understand that there will be some concern around not being able to return home, however, our priority is to ensure people are kept safe and well and are not taking unnecessary risks,” Derbyshire Police said.
“This is not a decision that has been taken lightly and we appreciate that there is significant impact on this community, however, this is an unprecedented, fast-moving, emergency situation.”
The 19th-century dam wall holding the Toddbrook Reservoir above the town has been damaged by several days of rain this week following a heat wave that struck large parts of Europe.