Following the collapse of a reservoir wall in Whaley Bridge after heavy downpours around 1,400 people in 400 houses were told to leave their properties with just minutes’ notice, what police called an “unprecedented, fast-moving, emergency situation”.
Many residents left their homes without time to pack a bag, grabbing medicines and pets and heading to a high school in nearby Chapel-en-le-Frith, where a respite center was set up.
Derbyshire police said 400 tonnes of aggregate would be brought in overnight to divert water from entering the reservoir, as “there is a high probability that there will be significant flooding”.
“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.
Deputy chief constable Rachel Swann said: “To move the substantial amount of aggregate into place a Chinook helicopter will be operating in the area in the coming hours to allow precise placement and divert the flow of the water.
More than 6,000 people live in the town, which is 16 miles southeast of Manchester. There have also been a few evacuations from places downstream such as New Mills and Furness Vale.
“Firefighters from across the country are using at least 10 high volume pumps to divert tonnes of water from the reservoir and relieve pressure on the dam”, the National Fire Chiefs Council said.
Julie Sharman, chief operating officer of the Canal and River Trust, said: “The spillway for the dam has broken away.
“We are trying to lower the level of the water in the dam in order to reduce the risk of further erosion. There’s a risk the dam could break.”
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