President Vaclav Havel cut short his holiday in Portugal on Wednesday, and returned to Prague for talks with Prime Minister Vladimir Spidla. Earlier Mr Spidla appeared on television, appealing for people to remain calm, co-operate with the authorities and not hamper rescue efforts. In a statement broadcast by national television Mr Spidla thanked the Czech people for facing a grave situation with "great courage and great vigour". Mr Havel was later seen on television walking across Charles Bridge.
Electricity and phone lines are still down in many parts of the capital. Czech Telecom says more than 50,000 fixed lines have had to be disconnected throughout the country, and mobile operators are also experiencing problems. Public transport in Prague has been further restricted, with flooding still reported in four metro stations.
In Prague the river Vltava appears to be falling, after earlier fears it would engulf the city's historic Old Town. The last round of evacuations took place in the early hours of Wednesday morning. Residents of the Old Town and Josefov districts - home to Prague's ancient Jewish quarter - were forced to leave their homes, and emergency workers erected sandbag walls to protect the National Theatre and the Old Town Square. Streets in the Mala Strana, Karlin, Smichov and Holesovice districts are underwater.
Emergency shelters have been set up in many parts of the country and psychologists are helping flood victims to deal with the crisis. Telephone help lines and counselling centres are working around the clock. The mayor of Prague has advised people not to return to their homes too soon, since parts of the Czech capital are expected to remain without electricity and gas, clean water and food supplies for some time.
The floods have affected many areas of the Czech Republic. In southern and western Bohemia water levels are gradually falling, but other regions are bracing themselves for further floods. In the South Moravian town of Znojmo 5,000 residents have been evacuated as a flood wave approaches the town. Some of the most serious flooding is currently in Central Bohemia. The town centre of Kralupy nad Vltavou, a few kilometres north of Prague, is underwater and 3,000 people have been forced to leave their homes. Floods are expected in the northern town of Usti nad Labem but reports say residents are ignoring police appeals for them to move to temporary shelters.
A state of emergency is still in force in the Czech Republic where the capital Prague and many other parts of the country have been hit by the worst floods in more than a century. Over 200,000 people have been evacuated from their homes, 70,000 in Prague alone. Floodwaters and debris have smashed railway bridges, knocked out water treatment plants and closed roads throughout the country. At least ten people have died and two are missing. Damage has been estimated at hundreds of millions of crowns
The situation is reported to be critical in other parts of the Czech Republic as well. Thousands of people have been evacuated from their homes in south Bohemia where the city centres of Ceske Budejovice, Cesky Krumlov , Plzen and Strakonice are under water. Many of the smaller towns and villages in South Bohemia have been flooded or cut off by the flood. At least one evacuated village is reported to have been seriously damaged, with whole houses collapsing. Parts of North Bohemia and Moravia, the eastern part of the Czech Republic, are also effected, though to a lesser extent. Ten people are known to have been have been killed in the flood, and at least two people are reported missing at the present time.
Following an emergency government session on Tuesday Prime Minister Vladimir Spidla appealed on the public to cooperate with the authorities and not hamper rescue efforts. He said the government was releasing 380 million crowns for immediate expenditures and that more aid money would be made available in due time. The European Commission is also said to be considering ways of helping the Czech Republic. President Havel is cutting short his holiday in Portugal and will return to Prague on Wednesday.
A state of emergency is in force in the Czech Republic where the Czech capital Prague and other parts of the country have been hit by the worst floods in over a century. Tens of thousands of people have been evacuated from their homes. In Prague the River Vltava broke its banks in the early afternoon spilling over into parts of the Old Town and flooding some residential areas on the riverside . The authorities ordered the evacuation of 50 thousand people from their homes before noon on Tuesday but many people were reluctant to move for fear of looting. Several cases of looting have already been reported. Electricity and phone lines are down in many parts of the Czech capital. Parts of Prague have been closed off, public transport is restricted and soldiers are patrolling the deserted areas in an effort to prevent further looting. Over one thousand soldiers, firefighters and thousands of volunteers are helping to deal with this natural disaster.
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