THE two counties saw 14 deaths and injuries caused by flooding and other water emergencies last year, figures reveal.

The Fire Brigades Union said the effects of climate change mean it is “no surprise” that flood deaths hit a record high across England, as it called on the Government to boost firefighters’ resources for such incidents, saying it was “long past time” the Government gave fire crews in England a statutory duty to respond to flooding – as is already the case in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Home Office data shows that in Hereford and Worcester, 14 deaths or injuries occurred in incidents where firefighters were called to flooding or other water emergencies in 2019-20 – down from 15 in 2018-19.

Figures reveal that last year’s incidents involved four deaths, seven hospitalisations, one in which a casualty required first aid and two where precautionary checks were carried out.

Across England, there were 111 deaths, 274 hospitalisations and 422 injuries overall – all of which were the highest on record.

Of the 17,505 flooding incidents last year, 13 per cent occurred in February, when storms Dennis and Ciara brought the wettest conditions for the month since records began in England and Wales.

Matt Wrack, FBU general secretary, said: “The Government needs to recognise that these incidents are only becoming more frequent and more damaging with climate change – just as, at the other end of the scale, hotter, drier summers fuel ever larger wildfires in the UK.

“Moreover, we need a total reshaping of our economy to drive down carbon emissions and prevent further flooding disasters – but that must go hand in hand with funding and resources for the firefighters on the frontline of the climate emergency.”

A Government spokeswoman said the vast majority of fatalities and casualties come from water and rescue incidents, such as lakes and rivers, not flooding.