Flooding in the Czech Republic has begun receding as the Labe River peaked in north Bohemia in the early hours of Thursday. The situation in Prague and other regions affected by the floods has calmed down. However, thousands of homes remain evacuated, and the worst hit areas are only beginning to count the damages.
The Labe River in the north Bohemian city Ústí nad Labem reached its peak at 10.7 metres on Thursday night, and has begun receding. Other towns and cities on the river remain on high alert but the authorities believe the worst has passed. Oldřich Bubeníček is the governor of the Ústí nad Labem region.
“We are of course happy that the Labe has peaked. The river has begun receding in some areas so we have already started planning what to do when the water goes down. We think that by Saturday, the Labe could recede to 8 metres which would allow us to reopen both bridges in Ústí nad Labem, and we could also start work on reopening the train station.”
In Děčín, a city further upstream close to the border with Germany, the authorities first want to start work on restoring electricity to parts of the town that had been flooded. However, some 1,600 people remain outside their flooded homes. Mayor Pelant says they will have to wait for a number of days before they can safely return.
“It is difficult to say. There are streets right next to the river where the water will only start receding in the coming days. So I think people will be able to return to their homes in roughly three or four days.”
In Prague, most parts of the metro system reopened on Thursday. A section of the C line in the centre however remains closed over leaks in one of the stations. The authorities believe the public transport system could be back to normal by Monday.
In other parts of the country, the counting up of damages has begun. First estimates by insurance companies amount to over seven billion crowns. The government has earmarked some 5 billion crowns for the renovation of flooded towns and villages, roads, railways and other infrastructure. Prime Minister Petr Nečas also promised that tax breaks and government-guaranteed credit would be available to firms and business hit by the floods. During his visit to Ústí nad Labem on Wednesday, Mr Nečas praised the country’s emergency services for their response.
“The good thing was that in most places in Bohemia, the flooding was less severe than in 2002. On the other hand, we have seen better performance by the emergency services as well as municipal crisis management teams. We learned from our experience with the previous floods.”
Meanwhile, south, central and north Bohemia as well as Prague, remain on flood alert as more rain is expected in saturated regions over the weekend and early next week.