· Evacuated families fill city's hotels and B&Bs
· Prince boards rescue boat to view stricken village

Flood rescue plans for Britain's worst affected city will be announced today when ministers visit Hull, where 30,000 people - three-quarters of the national figure - had to leave their homes at the height of the crisis and an estimated one in every five houses has been damaged.

Only 15 of the city's 105 schools escaped and millions of pounds will be needed to repair day care centres, libraries and leisure complexes swept by 10cm (four inches) of rain, which swamped drains, killing two people.

Every hotel and B&B in the city has been filled with families evacuated from 10,642 homes. Labour MPs have joined the Liberal Democrat-led council in pleading for an emergency package far beyond the "inadequate" Bellwin scheme of emergency financial assistance for councils.

The scale of the devastation has been masked by 10 days of other dramatic events, including the change of prime minister and terror attacks on London and Glasgow. Scenes in Hull also lacked the dramatic visual impact of South Yorkshire, where deep water has remained although damage has been far less.

In Toll Bar, near Doncaster, the Prince of Wales commandeered a rescue launch to view the flood during his second visit to the region yesterday. Firefighters said he had seen a dinghy and insisted on going along the half-submerged main street to highlight the problems.

In Adwick-le-Street, north-west of Doncaster, he queued to don protective overshoes and wash with disinfectant before visiting a leisure centre where more than 100 evacuees are still sleeping on mattresses. As more rain fell, he was praised for keeping the floods in the news - although Hull put in an urgent request that he should come and visit them too.

The minister heading the government's flood recovery programme, John Healey, will lead a delegation to Hull today, where he will be pressed for far more money. The clear-up operation in the city is the biggest in Britain since the collapse of East Anglia's coastal defences in 1953.

Hull council said that its resources had been overwhelmed and even assessing the damage was stacking up a huge manpower bill. More than 1,500 volunteers joined efforts yesterday to list priorities and find out how many people were moving back in to their homes.

"A lot of people are clinging on and living upstairs, with their kitchens and bathrooms ruined," said a council spokeswoman. "But they will all have to move out eventually so that repairs can be done.

"Insurance companies have said they will have to stay away for 6-12 months for the homes to be put right. They need to be re-plastered and re-floored and we will be short of labour to do that."

The city's cabinet agreed an emergency allocation of £18m from its housing budget two days ago. But damage to schools alone is estimated to top £100m and councillors are worried about the number of householders with no contents insurance.

The Liberal Democrat environment spokesman, Chris Huhne, toured the city and said: "The damage has to be seen to be comprehended. It looks certain the number of damaged houses will rise."

He called for the Bellwin scheme, named after the late Conservative peer and former leader of Leeds city council Lord Bellwin, to be enlarged to include capital payments. At the moment Bellwin money covers only revenue spending. Mr Huhne said: "That is going to be nowhere near enough."

Hull's three Labour MPs, Alan Johnson, Diana Johnson and John Prescott, have written to the environment secretary, Hilary Benn, calling for extra help. Mr Johnson, who will tour the city with Mr Healey, said that the Bellwin arrangements were "bound to be inadequate".

He told Mr Benn the scale of the devastation in Hull was "an appalling blow". He said: "For most local people affected, it is going to be at least nine months before their houses will be habitable again."

Prince Charles told some of the 280 evacuated locals at Adwick: "I was determined to get into a boat."

One of the firefighters trying to pump a million litres of water an hour out of Toll Bar said: "Charles just said: 'There's a boat, let me get in and go down.' He wanted to go all the way down to the shops, but there was too much stuff in the way there."


The Great Flood of 2007 started on Monday June 25, when a month's rain fell in a day in South Yorkshire and the Severn valley. In East Yorkshire the entire average for June came down in an hour. Water overwhelmed drains, drowning three people in the initial onslaught. A Victorian dam cracked at Ulley near Rotherham, and only 48 hours of shoring and pumping saved three villages. By Wednesday vast run-off had burst banks on the Don, Hull and Severn. Some 27,000 homes were damaged. Rain continued, leaving lakes of filthy water contaminated with drain refuse and sewage. The national death toll reached seven.