Felixstowe: Agency to simulate 1953 surge in floods exercise

MEMORIES of the death and destruction caused by the 1953 floods disaster will be stirred next week when the Environment Agency carries out an exercise to test how it would deal with a major flooding incident.

Exercise Watermark will take place all along the east coast, where 300 people died in what is still Britain’s worst peace-time tragedy.

At Felixstowe – where 41 people died as the North Sea surge swept through the low-lying southern part of the resort – officials will close all the floodgates and then put up extra temporary defences as part of a simulation of storm-force winds creating a tidal surge similar to the scale of the 1953 event.

The exercise will take place at Manor Road, Felixstowe, from 9am on Wednesday with the high tide due at 1pm.

“As part of the exercise the Environment Agency will simulate that two of the flood defence gates are inoperable and to make an effective barrier against the sea, they will be using temporary defences,” said an agency spokeswoman.

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“One flood gate will be sandbagged to demonstrate the correct construction of a sandbagged defence and the other will be fitted with a temporary steel pallet barrier.

“People are invited to come along at any time during the morning and see the two different types of temporary defences.

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“Staff will be on hand to answer any questions they may have on work during flooding events.”

Exercise Watermark aims to test national and regional responses to severe flooding from rivers, the sea, reservoirs, groundwater and surface water.

It will bring together government bodies, including the police, fire and rescue service and local authorities, big business, and local communities to trial responses to a range of scenarios which could occur during a flood emergency.

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