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  1. ITV Report

Prince Charles speaks of Somerset flooding 'tragedy'

Prince Charles has said the "tragedy" in flood-hit Somerset "is that nothing happened for so long" to help as he met local residents, farmers and emergency services personnel who have been affected.

The Somerset Levels suffered "once in 100 years" flooding in 2012, but has had to endure even worse conditions from December 2013.

There has been criticism over the response to the disaster and the perceived lack of action to help flood-hit areas.

More than 128,000 acres have been covered, with around 40 homes under water and 200 more cut off.

The Prince of Wales was recorded making the comments by ITV News during a reception of 80 people in the village of Stoke St Gregory.

Charles offered his support to the region by pledging a £50,000 donation which will be used to provide emergency relief grants to small businesses and those affected by the flooding.

The Prince of Wales meeting residents of Muchelney, which is largely cut off due to flooding on the Somerset levels. Credit: PA Wire

The Prince of Wales braved heavy winds, flooded areas and rain to speak to local farmers, flood victims and emergency services personnel.

He praised Somerset communities for helping each other during the turbulent period, telling volunteers and local businesses at the reception that their help was "vital" during times of crisis.

After attending the reception, Charles was escorted by a police operated boat, which is ferrying residents to the villages of Muchelney and Thorney.

The Prince of Wales (centre) steps from a boat after travelling to the flood-hit community of Muchleney. Credit: PA Wire

Residents praised the Prince after his visit saying he was a "complete gentleman" and very sympathetic to their plight.

"He was a complete gentleman. The prince was very understanding and very sympathetic to our needs and was genuinely concerned and interested. His support will make a difference. He is very interested in farming and we talked about particular animal welfare issues that we currently face with the flood water," local farmer Mike Curtis said.

The Prince of Wales sitting on a decorated garden bench on a trailer travelling through flood water. Credit: Press Association Images

David Cameron's official spokesman said the Prime Minister had himself called the situation of Somerset residents "unacceptable".

"The Prime Minister has said that the situation people very sadly have found themselves in is a desperate one, it's an unacceptable one, and that's why it's so important that we do everything that we can to help them," he said.

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