The Foreign Ministers of all fifteen European Union member countries have approved the establishment of a special disaster relief fund. Finances from the fund will be available to both member and candidate countries. The Czech Republic too, is expected to be entitled to resources from the fund, which should help the country in recovering from this year's devastating floods.
Heavy rains on Saturday night have caused local streams to burst their banks in South, East and Central Bohemia. Roads and cellars were flooded in and around the towns of Ceske Budejovice and Cesky Krumlov which had been severely hit by high water earlier this month. In the Krkonose Mountains, East Bohemia, the Upa river rose by two metres within one hour on Saturday night, causing damage worth tens of millions of crowns.
The former World War II concentration camp at Terezin near Litomerice in Central Bohemia will reopen for visitors on Monday. The site of the memorial as well as the town of Terezin itself were badly hit during the recent flood and the memorial alone suffered damage estimated at 60,000,000 crowns (2,000,000 US dollars). As of Monday, visitors will be able to see the Jewish cemetery and crematorium, the Small Fortress, the Ghetto Museum and other monuments. Between 1940 and 1945, more than 200,000 people were deported to the camp, known in German as Theresienstadt. Some 32,000 people died at Terezin, while 100,000 inmates were later killed at other concentration camps. In 1947 the government of Czechoslovakia decided to preserve the site and turn in into a memorial.
The state of emergency, which was put into force in five regions of the Czech Republic during the recent floods, will be called off on Saturday at midnight local time. In the surroundings of the towns of Decin and Litomerice and also in some parts of Prague, the state of emergency will be replaced by a state of alert. The state of emergency was first declared by Prime Minister Vladimir Spidla on the 12th of August when in a public address on Czech Radio, Mr Spidla stated that the danger caused by heavy floods in Prague, Central Bohemia, South Bohemia, and the Plzen and Karlovy Vary regions was severe enough to threaten the property, health, and lives of citizens.
The Czech Defence Minister Jaroslav Tvrdik has said the Czech Republic is discussing the securing of its aerospace with other NATO members. Owing to the recent floods, the government had to abandon plans to buy two dozen supersonic jet fighters for the Czech air force. Speaking at an air show in the city of Hradec Kralove on Saturday, Mr Tvrdik said that by mid-September he would put forward alternatives to the original plan to buy 24 Gripen fighters from the British-Swedish consortium BAE Systems/Saab. Mr Tvrdik said the options were to buy fewer aircraft, lease them or work in cooperation with other NATO member-countries.
The Foreign Ministers of all fifteen European Union member countries have approved the establishment of a special disaster relief fund. Finances from the fund will be available to both member and candidate countries. The Czech Republic too, is expected to be entitled to resources from the fund which should help the country in recovering from this year's devastating floods.
Specialists at the Spolana chemical plant north of Prague finished pumping out the remaining chlorine gas from the last two storage tanks on Saturday morning. Tanks with the dangerous chemical were stored in a warehouse which was damaged by the recent flood. The flooding at Spolana caused leakages of several chemical substances both into the air and water, the most dangerous being the leaks of chlorine. On Monday the government intervened after a second leak of chlorine into the air, and the factory's director was sacked. No one was hurt in the event, but plants in surrounding fields and gardens were burnt.
The three major flood accounts in the Czech Republic have collected more than 200 million crowns for flood victims. The most successful account was that of the People in Need Foundation, to which some 119 million crowns have been sent by those who want to help. The other two accounts belong to the Czech government and the Czech Catholic Charity. About one third of the sum has come from abroad. Money is flowing in from individuals, companies and charity organizations from many countries, including the United States, Spain, Slovakia, Poland and Croatia.
On Monday, Czech president Vaclav Havel and his wife Dagmar will visit the town of Svihov in the Klatovy region in West Bohemia, which is among the most heavily flood-stricken places in the Czech Republic. At present, there are soldiers in Svihov helping with the clean-up operation. The town is famous for its medieval castle surrounded by a wide moat.
251 soldiers from the Czech army's 4th anti-chemical unit said good-bye to their families and homeland on the main square in the South Bohemian town of Tyn nad Vltavou on Friday. They will fly to Kuwait to participate in the Enduring Freedom anti-terrorist operation in the region. Defence Minister Jaroslav Tvrdik told the soldiers that they were the best representatives of the Czech armed forces. The Czech Republic, as a full-fledged NATO member, is held responsible for the protection of common values of democracy, freedom and compliance with human rights, Minister Tvrdik said.
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