Prime Minister David Cameron said authorities "have got to do better" to tackle flooding during visits to some of the areas worst affected by severe storms.
He was confronted by one local in one Yalding, Kent, who told ITV News she was "totally abandoned" by local services after she found herself knee-deep in flood waters invading her home.
Erica Olivares has been without heating for four days and described to ITV News how some of the worst floodwaters in recent years invaded her home.
Mr Cameron told reporters in Yalding that flood defences were in place, but the heavy rains had been so severe in some places that they were unable to cope.
"Sandbags should be made available. Here they were given warnings," he said. "There were warnings from the Environment Agency but they weren't always accurate but they did know flood action was coming."
But Erica Olivares' husband, Pablo Olivares, told ITV News: "The only time that we actually saw fire engines and rescue people was when David Cameron turned up. The moment he left, that was it - they all disappeared, and the village was empty again."
Mr Cameron said: "Sometimes these are very, very tragic events. It is impossible to protect everybody against everything but we have got to do more and we have got to do better."