14-08-2002

All of Wednesday's papers are full of reports on the devastating floods that hit South Bohemia last week and are now sweeping through the Prague region as well as West and North Bohemia. The situation is truly dramatic and the papers write about little else.

 

Lidove noviny carries a supplement full of photographs depicting various scenes from the flooded areas. One picture shows the historical town of Cesky Krumlov sunk deep in water, another portrays people building sandbag walls at the Old Town Square in Prague in an attempt to keep the picturesque square from floodwaters.

An elephant and a hippopotamus had to be put down at Prague Zoo, continues Lidove noviny. The animals were drowning so the staff had no choice but to end their suffering. The 170-member team at the Zoo has worked hard since Sunday to move animals to higher ground. Lower parts of the zoo are already under deep water. The Zoo's director tells the paper that had they been warned early enough that Prague would experience the worst flood in over a century, all animals would have been rescued.

 

Mlada fronta Dnes writes that two tanks had to be used to secure a ship anchored near the National Theatre in Prague. The owner of the ship failed to follow an order to move it to a safer area and properly anchor it. As a result, there was a danger that the ship would be swept away by the floodwaters and damage the famous Charles Bridge.

Mlada fronta Dnes also gives advice to readers on what to do during floods, where to get help and where to look for information. The paper answers some frequently asked questions and provides important phone numbers where people can get information regarding public transportation or telephone services.

 

A giant chair worth one million Czech crowns was swept away by the river, reads the headline in Pravo. The wooden chair was a unique work of art created by the well-known artist Magdalena Jetelova and was exhibited outside the Sovovy Mlyny Gallery as part of the riverside gallery's collection. Unfortunately, the chair was not removed in time and Pravo carries a vivid photograph of the chair sweeping downstream in the middle of the river.

 

Back to Mlada fronta Dnes, the paper carries an interview with Prague's mayor Igor Nemec who believes that all the safety measures taken have been efficient and that the emergency team of the City of Prague has been handling the situation very well. The supply of drinking water is in no danger and no epidemic diseases are expected to spread, adds Igor Nemec.

 

And finally, Hospodarske noviny is looking into why the floods have come. Heavy and prolonged rains caused soil to become saturated. According to environmentalists, global warming may have had its share, as well as human intervention into the landscape. Especially in Communist times many traditional water-meadows were built on.

14-08-2002