6:21pm Saturday 9th June 2012
© Press Association 2014
A large-scale rescue operation has been carried out to get around 150 holidaymakers and residents to safety after a raging torrent of floodwater engulfed communities in west Wales.
Senior politicians, including Prime Minister David Cameron, paid tribute to Royal Air Force helicopter crews, fire service teams, coastguard and RNLI lifeboat crews and the emergency services who ensured there were no serious casualties.
They rescued and evacuated people from homes and caravans as caravan parks and villages near Aberystwyth became submerged in several feet of water after twice as much rain fell in 24 hours than normally falls in the area in the whole of June.
A Downing Street spokesman said: "The Prime Minister has spoken with Wales First Minister Carwyn Jones and Secretary of State for Wales, Cheryl Gillan, to be fully briefed on the flooding in the west of the country.
"Mr Cameron offered his full support to all those affected by the extreme weather and passed on his thanks to the dedication of the RAF, lifeboat crews, emergency and other local services who have worked tirelessly to make people safe and keep disruption to a minimum."
An inshore lifeboat team taking part in relief efforts had to be airlifted when they got into difficulties after helping to pluck a disabled man from a flooded caravan because a Royal Air Force (RAF) helicopter was 20 minutes' flying time away.
Four holiday camps along the River Lery were completely evacuated when the swollen waters breached its banks, and 150 people were sheltering in rest centres having been rescued, police said.
The Secretary of State for Wales said: "This has been a very impressive operation in horrific weather conditions and with unprecedented flood levels. Those involved in the rescue mission at the caravan parks in Llandre have acted quickly and with courage.
"Wales Office are in contact with the teams involved and I would like to offer them my support and thanks for the way in which they have come to the aid of all the residents and holidaymakers affected and kept disruption to a minimum."
A Welsh Government spokeswoman First Minister Carwyn Jones "has been receiving updates throughout the day on the situation", adding: "The First Minister's thanks go to all those involved in the rescue operation."
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