Prime Minister Petr Nečas has warned that the water flow along the Vltava cascade – a series of dams and reservoirs on the Vltava River will need to be increased. On Monday evening the rate of flow of water on the Vltava measured 2900 cubic metres per second and could be go as high as 3300 by Tuesday afternoon. The prime minister stressed the need for increasing flow, saying the reservoir at Orlik, for example, was almost at full capacity. On Monday, Mr Nečas visited areas already affected by flooding; he said the system of waterworks on the Vltava granted municipalities time to prepare for flood waters and to react in advance. According to the Czech news agency, Prague currently has anti-flood barriers capable of withstanding a rate of 3700 cubic metres per second; over the course of the evening it will be increased to 4000, readying the city for 100-year floods. Devastating floods in 2002 saw a rate of more than 5000 cubic metres per second.
Officials warn that Prague has not yet seen the worst of it: water levels on the Vltava River are now expected to peak at 7 am Tuesday – roughly 24 hours later a previous estimate. A swelling of the Berounka, a tributary, is expected to peak somewhat earlier. Members of the country’s central crisis management team, which includes the interior minister, said that the further evacuation of Prague residents from their homes could not be ruled out. Inhabitants of other areas, including Kralupy nad Vltavou, north of Prague, and in Central Bohemia may also have to be evacuated from their homes. Looking ahead, the crisis management team revealed that 350 police officers are ready to help in the clean-up effort which will begin once flood waters subside.
The country’s chief hygiene officer, Vladimír Valenta, has warned people in regions hit by flooding not to drink tap water. There are 51 cases where water supply has been affected and other parts of the network are threatened. The warning is most directed at the regions of Central Bohemia, Plzeň and South Bohemia. Drinking water will be provided by mobile cisterns, the chief hygiene officer said. Water supplies in the Czech capital are not at threat.
Five people earlier on Monday were confirmed to have lost their lives in
connection with floods that have wreaked havoc across Bohemia. Pavla
Kopecká, the spokeswoman for the police presidium in Prague, told the
Czech news agency that a 69-year-old man in the village of Měčín
in the Klatovy area had drowned after falling into a runoff sluice. At the
weekend, a woman and a man in Třebenice outside Prague were the first
victims when their cottage collapsed in a flood-related mudslide. An
82-year-old man died in the Benešov area also lost his life, as did a
Late on Monday, a sixth person, an electrician, was killed while trying to disconnect a transformer that had been flooded.
Damage to the lower part of Prague Zoo in Troja are estimated at around 160 million crowns, its head Miroslav Bobek has revealed, stressing that the number was a first estimate. After suffering devastation in 2002, the zoo introduced a 20-metre high flood wall but it wasn’t enough to stop flood waters a little over a decade later. Animals in the lower level of the zoo, however, were all relocated in advance. Mr Bobek warned that if the Vltava continued to swell further animals would have to be evacuated from their pavilions, namely the sea lions but possibly also the zoo’s gorillas. In 2002, a sea lion was swept from his enclosure in the zoo after Prague was hit by devastating floods. Named Gaston, the animal swam 300 kilometres and was caught only in neighbouring Germany, where he succumbed to exhaustion and stress.
The authorities in Prague are considering more evacuations as the Vltava River in the capital continues to rise. Water levels on the river was originally expected to peak at around 7 am on Monday but some of its tributaries are still rising. Acting Prague Mayor Tomáš Hudeček more parts of Smíchov, in Prague 5, could be evacuated. An emergency council of the City Hall convened at noon but a decision on Smíchov was not taken.
Families who lost homes or saw serious damage will be able to apply for financial relief in the form of an immediate payment of 51,150 crowns provided by the state. The news was announced by the spokesman for the central employment office Jiří Reichl; applicants can apply at their local employment office branch. The spokesman said additional funds were being prepared for release to villages which would allow them to hire additional hands in planned clean-up operations. The state regularly provides financial relief in cases of flooding and other natural disasters.
Fire fighters helped evacuate more than 7,000 people on Sunday and Monday
from areas hit by the floods, in the region of central, northern and
western Bohemia, including parts of the Czech capital. Teams of fire
fighters were also instrumental in putting up anti-flood barriers. In
Prague, the Hostivař and Záběhlice neighbourhoods in the southeast of
the city were hit. Hundreds of homes in Modřany and Zbraslav in the south
of the city were also evacuated while some people in Lahovice and Velká
were rescued by helicopter.
Parts of all three city metro lines (including part of line A which runs through the city’s historic centre) have been closed and will remain so over the coming days. The transit authority has provided alternative transport in the form of busses and special trams. Sources reported commuters relied heavily on those on Monday.
The village of Vestec in the area of Nymburk east of Prague has been one of the worst-hit by flood waters: the evacuation of all 300-or-so-inhabitants began on Sunday and is continuing. Almost every building in the village has been swamped by water from the Mrlina and there is danger of additional flood water breaking through a nearby levee, which the mayor indicated would be catastrophic for the village. Vestec was hit by 50-year floods back in 2003; then, family wells were fouled by floodwater which required drinking water to be shipped in in cisterns for several years, he said.
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