Army troops have been deployed to help thousands of homes in Scotland as they face a sixth day without power after Storm Arwen battered the region.
Boris Johnson has confirmed that 130 troops have been sent to the Grampian region of northern Scotland, with around 3,000 homes still without electricity.
The extreme weather damaged power lines which cut power off to many in the region.
At a glance: 5 key points
- Storm Arwen battered eastern parts of the UK on Friday night, with 90mph gusts damaging buildings and killing three people
- As a result of the extreme weather, almost one million homes lost power
- The majority of households have been reconnected but around 16,000 remain without power
- Troops have now been deployed to the Grampian region of Scotland, which includes Aberdeenshire, to help 3,000 homes that have remained disconnected
- Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said that the UK Government is “doing everything we can to help people”
Troops deployed to northern Scotland
Johnson confirmed that 130 troops had been sent to help households still affected by power outages.
They will go door-to-door to check on the welfare of residents who remain without power six days after the storm hit.
Police Scotland also confirmed that a “multi-agency” response was underway to help reconnect those in need.
Chief Superintendent George Macdonald said: “The damage caused by Storm Arwen has been unprecedented and has required significant repairs to be undertaken across the power, water and communications networks.
“The Strategic Local Resilience Partnership has met almost 20 times since last Friday, in preparation for and in response to the weather. The partnership involves local authorities, health and social care partnerships, emergency services, Maritime and Coastguard Agency, NHS, Scottish & Southern Electricity Networks, Scottish Water, SEPA, Forestry and Land Scotland, British Red Cross, and other local voluntary organisations.
“Together we are all committed to providing ongoing support to those affected by the power outage.”
‘Very challenging time’ for residents without power
Chief Superintendent Macdonald confirmed that military assistance had been drafted in to help with the multi-agency response to the situation.
He said: “We recognise that this has been a very challenging time for everyone who has been without power and water for a long time.
“Due to the ongoing challenges and uncertainty around when supplies will be fully restored, which has added to the complexity of the response, the partnership has deemed it proportionate and necessary to seek additional humanitarian support from the military and we are grateful for their assistance.
“The scale of damage and difficult weather conditions have added to the challenges of restoring power, however there is an absolute commitment from all agencies to do this as quickly as possible and to continue providing support as we work towards a return to normality."
Thousands remain disconnected in north-eastern England
Alongside the 3,000 homes in Scotland that are currently disconnected, a further 13,000 homes in north-east England are also without power.
Johnson said: “It was a very, very big storm. We are doing everything we can to help people.
“There were about 19,000 homes without (power) this morning. We have got that down to about 16,000.
“That is no consolation for the 16,000 who are still suffering but we are working flat out to help you.”
Shadow Environment Secretary Jim McMahon criticised the UK Government for the amount of time it has taken to reconnect every household again.
He said: ““Thousands have been left without power for days on end, especially in rural and more remote communities, yet they have been mostly abandoned by the Government.
“Half-hearted reassurance from ministers hundreds of miles away is completely useless when so many people are unable to cook, charge their phones or store vital medicines properly.
“The Conservatives need to get their act together and ensure there is resilient infrastructure across the country to stand up to the more severe storms we know are coming in the climate crisis.”
The Energy Networks Association and the Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks have confirmed that it aims to reconnect all homes by the end of Friday (3 December).
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