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As heavy snow sweeps across the UK – disrupting travel and leaving thousands stranded – Red Cross volunteers are braving the elements to support ambulance services across south-east England.
The Met Office has issued an extreme weather warning for parts of the UK. In the south-east, which has seen its worst snow for 18 years, ambulance services have called on the Red Cross to help deal with the increased number of call-outs.
Red Cross ambulances are supporting ambulance services in South Oxfordshire and Berkshire and the South East Coast Ambulance Service.
In London, the Red Cross was earlier called to Bromley Hospital NHS Trust to help clear accident and emergency cases. The Red Cross crews are helping to deal with non-urgent cases to enable to ambulance services to deal with an increased number of emergencies.
The bad weather has also caused significant damage to infrastructure in some areas. At Longfield, near Gravesend, where power cuts have affected up to 400 homes, a team of volunteers equipped with a 4x4 vehicle are helping the power company EDF tend to vulnerable and elderly people left without any power.
Another volunteer team is also poised to help EDF in Aylesbury, which has suffered a similar power cut and a team is also responding to a further power outage affecting 150 residents in London W2/W11.
Jane Roberts, operations director for Kent and Sussex, said: “Our volunteers have travelled some distance in very difficult conditions to make sure that residents in the area – particularly vulnerable and elderly people – are not left to fend for themselves in this bitter cold.”
Notes to editors
The British Red Cross helps people in crisis, whoever and wherever they are. We are part of a global voluntary network, responding to conflicts, natural disasters and individual emergencies.
We enable vulnerable people in the UK and abroad to prepare for and withstand emergencies in their own communities. And when the crisis is over, we help them to recover and move on with their lives.