The river Danube, which wends its way through much of Central and Southeastern Europe, has reached its highest level since 1895 in many places. Flooding in Serbia/Montenegro, Bulgaria and Romania has inundated towns, villages and farmland, forcing thousands from their homes.
The river and its tributaries, swollen by melting snow and heavy rains, has risen to nearly 10 meters (32.5 feet) over normal levels in some places. Authorities have opened breaches in levees to flood farmlands in the hopes of reducing water levels. In cities and towns civil defense workers, aided by local army units, are working around the clock erecting flood barriers and putting sandbags in place.
Scenes on French television showed several towns and cities, including parts of Belgrade, under water. Boats have replaced cars, trains and busses as the only way to get around, since most transport services in low lying regions can no longer function.
So far few deaths have been reported, but the property damage is expected to be heavy.
Forecasts for continued rainy weather across much of the Balkans have increased fears that flood levels may not have reached their maximum along the Danube, which is not expected to subside until later this week.
Europe’s insurers and reinsurers – Munich Re, Allianz, Hannover Re among them -have already indicated that the recent flooding in Poland and parts of Germany will not have a significant impact, as claims are not expected to be excessive. There’s no indication so far what impact the floods along the Danube might have on Europe’s insurers, but it’s unlikely that large losses will result.
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