Residents of a town in England have been told to leave their homes after a dam partially collapsed following heavy rainfall and flooding.
Derbyshire Police began moving the 6,500 residents of Whaley Bridge to a rallying point at a local school after part of the concrete wall of Toddbrook Reservoir dam, which sits above the town, crumbled and washed away.
The UK’s Environment Agency issued a severe flood warning for the River Goyt below the reservoir, saying the incident poses a significant threat to life.
“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,” Derbyshire Police said in a statement.
“This is not a decision that has been taken lightly and we appreciate that there is significant impact on this community, however, this is an unprecedented, fast-moving, emergency situation.”
England’s north has experienced heavy rainfall over the past few days, causing water to flow over the dam and creating minor flooding around the town.
The Canal and River Trust, which maintains the dam, said it had a team of engineers inspecting the damage to determine what steps can be taken to preserve the structure’s integrity.
The Toddbrook Reservoir was originally built in the 1830s before being significantly rebuilt in the 1980s.