Heavy Rains Cause Flooding in Central Europe


Reuters is reporting that heavy rains and floods across Central Europe have driven thousands from their homes and killed at least six people.

Five people were killed over the weekend in the Czech Republic, where the flooding was the worst in a decade, while in Austria one clean-up worker was killed in a mud-slide near Salzburg and another three people were missing. The flooding also affected parts of Germany, Slovakia, Hungary and Poland: Parts of the German town of Passau, where the Danube meets with two other rivers, were flooded. The Danube, in fact, saw some of the worst flooding. According to the Weather Network, many roads and train lines were closed, including a major one from Prague to the eastern part of the country.

The last time central Europe saw similar floods was in 2002, when 17 people were killed in the Czech Republic, and damage estimated at 20 billion euros ($26 billion) was inflicted.

Officials in Prague, the Czech capital listed by the U.N. cultural agency as a World Heritage Site, said they did not anticipate the waters of the swollen Vltava river, which runs through the center, would reach the 2002 levels. But in an effort to ensure extra precaution, the city's metro system was shut down. In the streets near the river, soldiers put up mobile metal fences - flood defenses that were ordered after the disaster 11 years ago. Elsewhere, volunteers built walls of sandbags.

The Charles Bridge, a favorite spot for tourists which dates back to the 14th century, was closed. Tree trunks floated by in the muddy brown water. A riverside path, which is below street level, is usually populated with cyclists and people sitting at cafes, but it was under water on Monday.



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