Record floods hit parts of Europe

06 Jun 2013


More than 1,300 people were evacuated by crews from the low lying areas of the German city of Dresden, as the Elbe River inched closer to the 9.4-metre (31 feet) high recorded in 2002. The water rose to just below 9 metres this morning, according to a city official.

Many parts of Europe are under threat of flooding, following unseasonal heavy rainfall, in the worst deluge in central Europe since 2002, when rising waters overwhelmed towns and cities in Germany, Austria, the Czech Republic and the Danube region. Around 15,000 people have been evacuated from their homes in the German state of Saxony and thousands more in Saxony-Anhalt and Bavaria in the same country. Rising waters have disrupted rail, road and river traffic.

With water levels subsiding in parts of Bavaria, Austria and the Czech Republic, the full force of the deluge that had swamped central Europe since the weekend was expected to hit Dresden and other towns along the Elbe in the coming days.

Volunteers connected through social media to join emergency services as rising waters swirled around homes on the banks of the Elbe river, submerging the district of Gohlis in Dresden.

The volunteers joined about 85,000 emergency services personnel, soldiers and medical professionals countrywide in a concerted effort to evacuate people and take other measures against the floods.

Even as floods continue to wreak havoc across northern and central Europe, ironically, the weather remains clear, but the run-off means river levels are continuing to rise.

The last great flood was in 2002, but residents along the Elbe, say this time around it would be even worse.

The scene is no different along the banks of the Danube.

On the Austro-Slovak border, hundreds of firefighters are struggling to save whatever they can after the river burst its banks.

The Hungarian capital, Budapest is also bracing itself for record flooding from the swollen Danube.

According to the authorities, the high water levels would be expected to peak by next Monday at around 8.75 metres. Meanwhile, flood preparations are underway at 20 locations across the city.

There is particular concern over a small zoo on Margaret Island, a popular tourist attraction with an operation underway to evacuate the animals from their enclosures.

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