North Moravia comes to terms with worst floods in over a decade

The clean-up operations have begun in northern Moravia following the region’s worst flooding in over a decade, in which 11 lives were lost. Hundreds of families were evacuated from their homes while thousands in the region remain without gas and electricity. On Thursday, Prime Minister Jan Fischer pledged millions of crowns, and 1,000 soldiers, to help pick up the pieces in the areas worst affected. Earlier today, I spoke to Czech Radio’s Igor Horváth in Ostrava, I asked him first about how the situation had developed there overnight:

Photo: CTKPhoto: CTK “Well, the river reached the second level of flood alert at around 1am. However, no roads, or houses were flooded. Unfortunately though, there were more victims, a dead woman was found in her house in Jeseník nad Odrou. And the number of victims may not be final, more bodies may be found once the water recedes.”

But the water does seem to be receding a bit and the clean-up operation has got underway. Do we have any idea, as the water goes down, about the devastation that has been left behind, about the amount of damage incurred and what has actually been ruined?

“Well, the immediate rescue activities, which were aimed at saving lives and property are finished. People responsible for renewing supplies of gas, electricity, drinkable water and other utilities take over. Insurance workers as well as psychologists are already on the ground, but it is too early to say how huge the amount of damage could be.”

Photo: CTKPhoto: CTK You said there that some psychologists have been sent in, but also, as promised by Prime Minister Jan Fischer, around about 1,000 soldiers have been sent in to the affected areas to help with the clean-up operation and help battle the remains of the floods. Are they actually there now, and what sort of work are they doing in those areas?

“Yes, 200 soldiers are already there, at this moment they are helping in the town which was damaged the most – Jeseník nad Odrou.”

And what about where you are in Ostrava? Would you say that Ostrava is now out of the sort of category of risk and that people in Ostrava can breathe a little bit more easily this weekend? Or are people still very worried there?

“Well, I would say that people in the city of Ostrava can have a more pleasant weekend now because the danger is not very big.”