Czech Floods Make 2,700 Escape from Homes, Threate Central Prague

About 2,700 people have been already evacuated from low-lying areas while the rising water threatened Prague’s historic center.

Heavy rain caused landslides and swelled river waters to dangerously high levels in Europe. Photo: Karel Dobes/Flickr

At least four people have died and at least eight are feared to be missing after heavy storm caused landslides and swelled river waters to dangerously high levels in Czech Republic.

Firefighters and emergency groups have already evacuated homes in western regions and in villages outside the capital of the country on weekend and Monday, rescuing 200 people.

“The water is about 50 meters from my house but it’s only 1 or 2 meters from other houses,” said Rory Pattison, an expatriate worker living in a village just outside Prague.

“We haven’t had an evacuation notice yet but everyone is making preparations just in case.”

Heavy flooding was also reported in Austria, Germany and Poland after heavy rain which hit central Europe over the past week swelled rivers. At least one person died and two were missing in Austria near Salzburg.

About 8 stations of the Prague’s subway network was shut down on Monday due to the weather, for the first time since massive floods flooded the city in 2002, leaving 19 people dead and causing billions of dollars of damage in the Czech Republic.

Czech officials have already warned the citizens that the waters of the Vltava river could reach critical levels in Prague and that special metal walls were being erected to prevent flooding.

Interim Mayor Tomas Hudecek urged people avoid going to the center of the city and said that all nursery, elementary and high schools in the Czech capital will be closed today.

The disaster, caused by torrential rains, has prompted evacuation of hospitals, retirement homes and cultural institutions as well as the city zoo, reports RT.

Czech Prime Minister Petr Necas declared the highest state of emergency for most of the nation on Sunday and pledged 300 million crowns ($15.11 million) for relief efforts.

“Due to the current situation, I have declared a state of danger for the area of the capital city,” acting mayor Tomas Hudecek told a news conference.

Hudecek said the water level in the Vltava River would keep rising and is feared to reach up to 2500 cubic metres per second. The river has partially flooded the Kampa island in the historic center of the city, a road from Prague to Roztoky, central Bohemia, as well the riversides on the embankment and some islands.

In the suburbs of Prague a woman was found dead in the rubble after a summer cottage collapsed due to the raging water. In the same area authorities discovered the dead body of a man.

In Germany at least four people have died or are missing. Chancellor Angela Merkel has already promise to provide federal support for affected areas and said the army would be deployed if necessary.

In Austria, a man was found dead in Salzburg as he was swept away while working on flood defenses and another two people are missing in the Salzburg area, the local news agencies report.

Meteorologists are predicting the rainfall will ease in the coming days.

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