Emergency crews are racing to save a damaged reservoir, as “terrified” residents fear their Derbyshire town could be flooded.
Part of the dam wall collapsed on Thursday afternoon.
An RAF helicopter is also halfway through dropping 400 tonnes of aggregate on the collapsed section.
How dangerous is it?
“We aren’t putting a figure on any risk of collapse but everything that can be done is being done,” she said.
Engineers are attempting to get the reservoir’s water level down, to reduce pressure on the wall and allow repairs to begin.
What does it mean for residents?
Some stayed with relatives while others bedded down in pubs and hotels, with lots of businesses offering free rooms.
Police said residents would not be allowed back on Friday so would spend a second night away from their homes.
Joy said: “We have nothing. No clothes, no toothbrush, nothing.
“We have been thinking about what’s in our house that we would miss – all our kids’ pictures and of our grandchildren – it’s upsetting.”
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Susie said: “It’s just surreal that it’s happening in our town, it’s just bizarre.”
Mike Breslin described it as a “crazy situation”.
Eric Baker, who has lived in the town for 30 years said: “It’s shocking really, it’s like living next to a ticking bomb. If that goes the devastation will be unimaginable.
“Then it started to collapse on Thursday and it made a tremendous noise as the concrete slabs began to collapse.
“The disruption is huge, the small shops and businesses are really being hit and of course we don’t know when it will be over.”
“It’s quite terrifying. If the dam goes, it will take out the whole town.”
When will it be fixed?
There are no weather warnings in place for Friday, and the Met Office has said it expects much drier conditions.
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He said: “The Chinook is bringing aggregate on the one hand to shore up the dam, but also to divert water further up the valley away from the reservoir.
“There are also 16 high-volume pumps being used to relieve the pressure on the dam.
“Only when that is done can work start on permanent repairs and finding out what went wrong.”
Ms Villiers said she was receiving regular updates on the situation and the government’s COBR committee would make sure everything possible was being done to help.
People have shared their admiration for the emergency services on social media, with Twitter user @nmstoker naming the chinook pilots #DamUnbusters.
This isn’t the first time communities have faced the nightmare of a dam that could collapse.
Cracks appeared in the dam itself. People downstream were told to leave. The M1 motorway was in the path of a potential burst so part of it was closed.
As with the dam at Whaley Bridge, the one at Ulley was built in the 19th Century with the same combination of clay and mud.
In the end, pumps relieved the pressure and nearly 3000 tonnes of rock strengthened the structure so the emergency passed.
Part of the reservoir’s spillway broke away on Thursday.
It was damaged after large swathes of the country were battered by heavy rain and floods earlier in the week.
Police told residents in Whaley Bridge to gather at Chapel High School in neighbouring Chapel-en-le-Frith.
They were told to take pets and medication with them as it was unclear how long it would take to repair the damaged wall.
Pumps from fire services across the country have been pumping out 7,000 litres of water a minute.
Army engineers are clearing trees and bushes to get “five or six” more water pumps in on south side of reservoir.
Derbyshire Fire & Rescue Service said more than 150 firefighters from across the UK have been supporting the work at the dam and in the town.
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