Dozens of municipalities around the country are on high flood alert, as rain and melting snow continues to swell rivers. Several thousand soldiers and emergency crews are busy reinforcing river banks, securing flood defences, clearing blocked roads, and helping residents leave their homes. The worst affected areas are southern Moravia's Znojmo region around the River Dyje and the northern city Usti nad Labem. Over 10,000 people have already been evacuated but local authorities expect that number to rise as more rain is forecast until the end of the week. Four casualties have also been reported.
The head of the Morava River basin water management company, Miroslav Konecny, has been sacked. Mr Konecny was dismissed by Agriculture Minister Jan Mladek on Friday after several municipalities affected by the floods complained that they were left in the dark about rising water levels. Konecny will be replaced on Saturday by copany vice president for finances Pavel Mylbachr.
The EC Vice-President and Commissioner for Enterprise and Industry, Guenter Verheugen, is on a one-day visit to Prague. The former EU commissioner for enlargement is due to hold talks with politicians and entrepreneurs. At a meeting with Czech Deputy Prime Minister for Economic Affairs, Jiri Havel, the liberalisation of the energy market dominated the talks. Mr Verheugen is also due to visit the Senate, participate in a discussion on economic growth and employment in the European Union, and meet Prime Minister Jiri Paroubek. This is Mr Verheugen's first official visit to Prague since EU expansion in 2004.
At a special session on Thursday, Cabinet earmarked 380 million crowns (15.5 million US dollars) to aid the regions affected by the floods. The money is to be used for mobile homes, food, the protection of property, and the reconstruction of damaged roads, for example. Prime Minister Jiri Paroubek, who cut short a visit to Egypt in order to attend the government meeting, was also flown to southern Moravia in a helicopter on Thursday night to inspect the extent of damage caused.
Thousands of children are expected to spend Friday night at some 500 libraries, schools, hospitals, and other institutions across the country. The event called Hans Christian Andersen night is being held in the Czech Republic for the sixth year to mark the anniversary of the birth of the Danish storybook writer Anderson. The children write and stage plays, take part in contests, sing, dance, read fairy tales, and spend the night in sleeping bags.
The capital city, where water levels of the Vltava River have been constantly rising, is also on alert. Though the situation has not been declared critical, several museums have moved their exhibits to other venues and the Prague Zoo is preparing to evacuate its animals. Mayor Pavel Bem has assured Prague residents that the city is well prepared for the threat of flooding.
The capital city is also on alert. Work continued through the night to reinforce river banks and secure flood defences. Several museums have moved their exhibits to other venues and Prague Zoo has taken its gorillas out of the pavilion, though no animals have been evacuated. With water levels of the River Vltava rising steadily, Mayor Pavel Bem inspected the metro's security system and assured Prague residents that the city is well prepared for the threat of flooding.
A Swedish court has found the adoptive father of a Czech boy, who died
earlier this year, guilty of neglect and has sentenced him to six
months in prison. Three-year old Erik, who was sent to the Swedish
family in the town of Jonkoping last year, died of untreated pneumonia
and blood poisoning. His body was covered with over 150 bruises and
His adoptive parents originally faced up to six years in prison on charges of psychological and physical abuse, resulting in death. The charges were reduced to neglect after an expert on infectious diseases testified that the wounds may also have been caused by a skin disease. The court is still awaiting the result of the adoptive mother's psychiatric assessment.
The Czech Republic plans to stock up on anti-viral drugs thought to be
effective against bird flu. By the end of the first quarter of next
year there should be enough medicine to cover the needs of one fifth of
the population, the country's chief hygienist Michael Vit said on
Three swans have already died of bird flu around the town of Hluboka in south Bohemia. An EU laboratory in England has confirmed that one of them carried the H5N1 strain of bird flu that is potentially deadly to humans; the other two swans are still being tested. Special veterinary measures have been introduced in three and ten kilometre zones around Hluboka, in line with EU regulation.
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