Water levels on the Vltava and Labe rivers, which became swollen last week
after heavy rainfall, are continuing to fall. However, with storms and
persistent rain due until Tuesday, the risk of flooding remains in some
parts of Bohemia. Local authorities have been ordered to keep flood
defences in place and there have been warnings that some places already
inundated could be affected again, with the saturated terrain making flash
floods a possibility.
At the same time, thousands of people evacuated last week have been returning home. Ten deaths were recorded in connection with last week’s floods and material damages have been put at billions of crowns.
The Czech Army on Sunday doubled the number of troops deployed to help deal with the effects of flooding in several parts of Bohemia. Some 340 soldiers are now assisting in cleanup operations and other work, such as the building of a humanitarian centre to accommodate evacuees and rescue workers, a spokesperson for the General Staff said. Hundreds more troops will be deployed when water levels recede further in the Ústí nad Labem region, which has been one of the areas hardest hit by flooding.
Prague’s transport authority reopened all of the stations in the city’s metro system at 15:00 on Sunday. The metro’s operators had previously said they would open on Monday the remaining stations closed since the threat of flooding began last week. An official said the authority wished to accommodate people returning to the capital after the weekend. Flood-prevention barriers will remain in the vestibules of some stations.
Alongside CZK 4 billion already earmarked for dealing with the impact of the floods, the government will release more funding for that purpose, the Prime Minister Petr Nečas said on a TV debate show on Sunday. Mr. Nečas said that would not necessitate an increase in taxation, special budgetary measures or exceeding the state budget deficit set for this year. Alongside the CZK 4 billion mentioned, the government said last week it was setting aside CZK 1.3 billion from the State Fund for Transport Infrastructure for post-flood projects.
Prime Minister Nečas says he believes agreement will be reached between
President Miloš Zeman and Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg over the
appointment of ambassadors. Speaking on Sunday, Mr. Nečas said in the past
compromises had been reached between the head of state, the PM and the
foreign minister on naming envoys, adding that the dispute appeared trivial
in the light of the flood situation.
Mr. Zeman and Mr. Schwarzenberg (who the former defeated in presidential elections) have been at loggerheads for some time over the president’s wish to see Livia Klausová, the wife of his predecessor, named ambassador to Bratislava, and Communist MEP Vladimír Remek made ambassador to Russia.
Nearly 20,000 fans attended a charity testimonial game for former Czech soccer international Marek Jankulovski at Ostrava’s Bazaly stadium on Saturday. Members of the Czech squad that reached the semi-finals of Euro 2004, of which the left back/winger was a member, lined up against a selection that included some of his former teammates from AC Milan, including Gennaro Gattuso. Jankulovski, 36, won the 2007 Champions League and one Serie A title with Milan and scored 11 times in 77 games for the Czech national team.
The Czech Republic’s Central Flood Commission has warned that more flooding may occur around the country as storms are forecast for the coming days. Speaking after a commission meeting on Saturday, Prime Minister Petr Nečas said that land was still saturated in many areas and further flooding could occur very quickly, perhaps in places that have just been inundated. He also said there was a danger of landslides. Almost a week after flooding began in several parts of Bohemia, Mr. Nečas said the good news was the country was functioning well. Nearly 20,000 people were evacuated last week and 10 people died, while material damage has been estimated in the billions of crowns.
Prague’s transport authority is planning to reopen all of the stations in the city’s metro system at 15:00 on Sunday, the new website Lidovky.cz reported. The metro’s operators had previously said they would open on Monday the remaining stations closed since the threat of flooding began last week. Flood barriers will remain in the vestibules of some stations. Reacting to the news, Prime Minister Nečas said the decision to reopen the entire system early was ill-considered and at variance with the views of the Central Flood Commission.
The Christian Democrats have re-elected Pavel Bělobrádek as party leader. Two-hundred and forty-four of 272 delegates voted for the unopposed Mr. Bělobrádek at a party congress in Olomouc on Saturday. He told the assembled that he believed that the Christian Democrats would re-enter the Chamber of Deputies in elections scheduled for a year from now. Opinion polls have been putting the party, whose stronghold is in Moravia, at around the five-percent threshold needed to get into the lower house.
A 15-year-old elementary school pupil from the North Moravian town of Hlučín gave birth to a baby girl on a school trip to Český Krumlov in south Bohemia last week, the Czech News Agency reported. The principal of the school said nobody had known the girl was pregnant. When she was taken ill doctors discovered she was about to give birth. The police said they will begin investigating the matter once they have been officially informed of it.
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