Floods Hit Eastern Europe

April 3, 2006

Spring floods have forced the evacuation of thousands of people from low lying areas in the Czech Republic, Slovakia and parts of Eastern Germany, as rivers, swollen by rains and melting snow inundated a number of towns and villages. 6 people are so far reported to have died as a result of the flooding.

In Olomouc, a Czech City east of the Capital, Prague, the Morava River burst through levies and sandbag barriers, forcing nearly 2000 people from their homes. Although the Vltava River has risen in Prague, there have so far been few evacuations, but the floods have shown no signs of subsiding, and authorities are concerned that the massive floods on 2002 could be repeated.

Evacuations have also been ordered in the Northwest of the country along the Elbe in the Usti nad Labem region close to the German border, as the river has risen from its usual depth of around 2 meters (6.5 feet) to over 8 meters (26 feet), and may rise further.

The Elbe flows through the Eastern German City of Dresden, and although some people have been ordered to leave low lying areas, there have so far been no mass evacuations, but the city remains on high alert as flood preparations continue.

A series of floods in the same region in August of 2002 resulted in the deaths of over 100 people and caused economic losses that exceeded $20 billion with insured losses of around $4.5 billion.

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