Britain's flood death toll rises to nine

LONDON Sat Jul 28, 2007 12:16pm EDT

Farmer Derek Roberts walks through his flooded meadow in Ripple, central England, July 27, 2007. REUTERS/Darren Staples

Farmer Derek Roberts walks through his flooded meadow in Ripple, central England, July 27, 2007.

Credit: Reuters/Darren Staples

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LONDON (Reuters) - Emergency workers found a man's body in a submerged field on Saturday, bringing to at least nine the death toll in Britain's worst floods for 60 years, police said.

Firefighters searching for a missing 19-year-old found the body near the historic market town of Tewkesbury, western England, where flooding has damaged thousands of homes and left many without running water.

Officials could not immediately confirm the body was that of the missing man.

The wettest summer since records began has brought two bouts of flooding across England since the end of June, wrecking houses and businesses, delaying harvests and slashing milk production. Firms dependent on tourism are hard hit.

At least nine people have died in the two rounds of flooding and damage is estimated by insurance companies at up to 3 billion pounds ($6.10 billion).

Picturesque towns in western England have been transformed into islands, with buildings on higher ground surrounded by dirty, brown water.

More than 130,000 homes are relying on bottled water and emergency water tanks placed on the streets.

With more heavy rain forecast this weekend, police in Gloucestershire said people should stay at home or risk becoming stranded.

Forecasters issued severe weather warnings for much of southern England and Wales, with up to 4 cms (1.6 inches) of rain expected on Saturday night.

Swollen rivers could burst their banks, while surface water may cause flash floods.

However, the Environment Agency said the risk of flooding was "significantly lower" than from the earlier storms.

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