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Millions of homes at risk of floods

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Over two fifths of people in England and Wales who are living in flood-risk areas are not aware they are at risk, the Environment Agency has said.

The agency said a poll of 1,033 people living in at-risk areas found that just 3% had prepared a flood kit of essential items such as copies of home insurance documents, a torch, bottled water, important contact details and warm waterproof clothes and blankets.

And just 9% of those whose homes could flood have found out how to stay safe in the event of flooding.

The Environment Agency warned that some 2.2 million of the five million people in England and Wales who are living in flood-risk areas need to face up to the threat of flooding as the risk of floods is only set to grow due to climate change.

The agency's chief executive, Paul Leinster, said: "The annual clean up cost of flooding is around £1.1 billion and rising. We all need to face up to flood risk as climate change will dramatically increase the number of homes affected."

© Press Association 2008