Flooding, Heatwaves, Terrorism: What Would Happen If A Second Crisis Hit The UK During?

Emma Parkinson, senior lecturer in emergency planning and crowded places at Coventry University, told HuffPost UK: “There are natural hazards like flooding. “Heatwaves are a particular problem in mass gatherings but, again, we’re not having them at the moment.” That’s not to say the UK is letting its guard down. A Cabinet Office spokesperson told HuffPost UK in a statement: “Our emergency planning protocols and procedures remain in place as usual with resources on standby to be deployed if they are required.” Yes, it’s not all good news – the weather doesn’t care if you’re socially distancing. Dr Richard Teeuw of the University of Portsmouth’s applied geoinformatics and disaster risk reduction centre, told HuffPost UK that high rainfall and storm surges – like those seen last year – always pose a risk in the UK, particularly from autumn onwards. And eventually you’re going to get flooding across large areas affecting hundreds of thousands of people, potentially.  “If they happen at the same time we also have Covid-19 in a second wave, that would be particularly problematic.” “We have a very good system of shelters and rest centres, which every local authority is obliged to provide, but the problem with Covid-19 is you don’t want to get people close together in shelters for a few days and nights while we’re dealing with the impacts of the flooding – so that is a potential problem,” said Dr Teeuw. In a statement to HuffPost UK, a spokesperson for Derbyshire Police – which led the Whaley Bridge evacuation – suggested the immediate danger of a flooding event would take precedence over social distancing measures. They said: “Whilst the current pandemic would present new challenges – such as ensuring plans are adapted to allow for social distancing in an evacuation, for example – our primary goal as a police service is the preservation of life and all necessary precautions would be undertaken to ensure this is upheld.” But it’s early days and one of the biggest potential crises the NHS faces is a severe flu season or a second wave of coronavirus as the lockdown eases. The coronavirus lockdown has seen a huge increase in the number of locally organised and community groups, essentially mobilising vast numbers of people and creating a new civic workforce aimed solely at helping others. “We’ve seen communities come together like never before in my lifetime to support vulnerable individuals, groups have sprung up on social media and locally all across the UK,” says Parkinson.