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AstraZeneca vaccine factory in Wrexham saved from flooding
21 January 2021, 08:12 | Updated: 21 January 2021, 12:13
Teams had to work through the night to protect the Wrexham factory producing the Oxford/AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine from flooding caused by Storm Christoph.
Workers pumped water from the area and clearing gullies to make sure water didn't build up around the Wockhardt UK on Wrexham Industrial Estate, after the building experienced mild flooding.
There were fears the north Wales factory would be overwhelmed by the rising floodwaters, but thankfully the fast action meant there was no damage and the facility can operate as normal.
Storm Christoph has wreaked havoc on the UK, and overnight hundreds of people had to evacuate their homes to avoid the rising flood waters.
A statement from Wockhardt UK said: "Last night at approximately 1600 hours Wockhardt UK experienced mild flooding, resulting in excess water surrounding part of the buildings across site.
"All necessary precautions were taken meaning no disruption to manufacturing or inlet of water into buildings. The site is now secure and free from any further flood damage and operating as normal."
Massive thank you to everyone who worked so hard to protect supplies of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine in Wrexham. Happy to hear that the supply has been secured and that the site is now operating as normal. https://t.co/KDwOG5iVus— Mark Drakeford (@fmwales) January 21, 2021
Speaking earlier this morning Wrexham Borough Council leader Mark Pritchard said: "The company had serious concerns their warehouse could be flooded so they asked us for support and we gave them that.
"We worked through the night with them and gave them the resources and it's been successful, but it has been difficult."
He added: "The problem is even when the water level drops you have to examine the river bank to make sure there's no movement there.
"It's going to be a difficult couple of days.
"We had to work with the storage facility (where the vaccines are held) as there was a risk of flooding there overnight and that was a success.
"This could have had an impact on not just Wrexham and Wales but also the rest of the country."
Police in North Wales have been ensuring residents have been kept safe as Storm Christoph rips through the UK, and in Bangor on Dee - just 3.5 miles from Wrexham Industrial Estate - people were evacuated from their homes due to a severe flood risk.
A statement released at 1.40am this morning from the force said: "Due to a severe flood risk, emergency services are asking residents of Bangor on Dee to evacuate their properties and proceed to Ysgol Sant Dunawd immediately. DO NOT attempt to leave the area by vehicle yourself.
"4x4 vehicles will be utilised by emergency services to evacuate residents from the school."
The Wrexham plant is being used as the "fill and finish" part of the vaccination process, and it has the capability of producing 300 million doses of the jab each year.
More to follow...