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Britain battles worst floods for 60 years

Photo: A bridge emerges, briefly, from floodwaters near Tewkesbury.
Photo: AP

Great Britain

July 24, 2007

GLOUCESTER (Reuters) - Emergency workers battled to hold back overflowing rivers on Tuesday after Britain's worst floods in 60 years engulfed towns and villages and cut off water supplies to hundreds of thousands of people.

Days of rain have turned swathes of central and western England into lakes, flooding 4,500 houses, threatening many more and leaving cars submerged. Harvesting of crops such as barley and rapeseed has been delayed and milk production has dropped, triggering fears of possible food shortages.

River Thames bursts banks in UK

Photo: Sand bags protect the bank along a canal in Oxford city centre in England as water levels rose on Wednesday.

London: The River Thames burst its banks on Wednesday, forcing the evacuation of hundreds of homes in the university city of Oxford in Britain's worst floods for 60 years.

About 350,000 people faced two weeks without running water, the insurance bill could soar to 3 billion pounds and farmers say harvests have been badly hit.

Oxford became the new frontline when tributaries of the Thames spilled over into its streets, forcing police to evacuate 250 homes. Residents of historic towns such as Windsor were warned they could be next and more rain is expected.

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