The Extraordinary Pictures That Show The Extent Of Flooding In Somerset Right Now

The marines have been deployed, people have called for the Environment Agency’s chair to step down, and the Prime Minister has had to visit the area. This is why…

1. Many parts of the Somerset Levels have been underwater for over a month in the wettest January in Britain on record.

Toby Melville / Reuters

A headstone in the village of Moorland, February 7.

2. The Levels comprise a flat area that extends for about 170,000 acres.

Toby Melville / Reuters

3. The landscape is made up of rivers and wetlands, which are artificially irrigated so that they can be farmed.

Toby Melville / Reuters

Emergency services personnel are carried by tractor at dusk through flooded land in the village of Burrowbridge.

4. Some farmers have ended up moving their animals to safer ground.

6. It’s one of the lowest areas in the country: its maximum altitude is only 8 metres above sea level.

9. Farmers have seen as much as 95% of their land covered in water.

Toby Melville / Reuters

A house name sign is outside a flooded property in the village of Moorland, February 7, 2014.

10. The unprecedented pumping operation is costing £100,000 a week.

Toby Melville / Reuters

An emergency flood pump ejects water into the River Parrett near the village of Moorland, February 7, 2014.

11. The environment secretary has been unable to say when dredging of the rivers that drain the levels will begin.

Toby Melville / Reuters

12. He says it’s not possible to get machines on to the raised riverbanks.

Toby Melville / Reuters

A police vehicle drives past emergency flood pumps near the village of Moorland, February 7, 2014.

13. Some commentators argue dredging will only make the problem worse.

Toby Melville / Reuters

Emergency services personnel are carried by tractor at dusk through flooded land in the village of Burrowbridge, February 7, 2014.

14. But David Cameron has committed to a more intensive dredging programme.

Pool / Reuters

He has said: “”The pause in dredging that took place in the late 90s – that was wrong. We need to get dredging again and I have said when the water levels come down and it is safe to dredge we will be dredging to make sure that these rivers and ditches can carry a better capacity of water. There are lessons to be learned and I will make sure they are learned.”

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