Floods threaten Central Europe

Floods are threatening much of Central Europe, forcing hundreds of people across the region to flee their homes.

    The central Czech town of Roudnice is under water

    The floods on Saturday claimed a fifth victim in the Czech Republic and neighbouring Slovakia, after a 55-year-old homeless man was discovered dead near the eastern Czech town of Zabreh.
      
    "The man was one of the town's homeless. A post-mortem will have to decide if he drowned, but it looks very likely," said Milan Kratochvil, the deputy mayor of Zabreh.

    In Germany, around 300 people were evacuated from their homes in Saxony's main city, Dresden, on Friday night as the rising Elbe threatened to flood the historic centre.
      
    "People will expose themselves to an irresponsible danger if they stay at home," Dresden's deputy mayor warned.
      
    In the Czech capital, the natural threat from the Vltava river stabilised on Saturday, but a different threat emerged.
      
    Prague police disturbed two men in the centre of the city on Friday night trying to dismantle part of the city's aluminium flood barrier, apparently for its scrap metal value.
      
    City leaders demanded that the one man caught face exemplary punishment. 

    Grave risk

    Rain and melting snow raised the flood risk in the east and centre of the country. Many inhabitants of the historic eastern city of Olomouc ignored appeals from local authorities to quit their homes in the early hours of Saturday.
      
    About 1,800 people in the most-threatened parts of the city were advised to evacuate their homes shortly after midnight. "Only about 60 people have been evacuated," Martin Hala, a city spokesman, said.
      
    "They can pray that the water does not rise, but afterwards it will not be a question of evacuation but of rescue," Jiri Glabazen, the local fire chief, said.    

    The Czech meteorological office has warned that some areas could enjoy only a temporary reprieve.

    It extended its nationwide flood warning until Monday evening, saying all areas of the country were in danger, apart from Prague and the Karlovy Vary region.
      
    In Hungary, floods have disrupted road and rail services in several parts of the country, authorities said on Saturday.

    SOURCE: AFP


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