In 2002, Prague Zoo was one of a number of key Prague sites devastated by flooding. A little over ten years later, the zoo again was not spared. Despite improvements in prevention and preparation, its lower levels are once again under water. Damage to pavilions and the lower part of the site has already been estimated at more than 100 million. If confirmed, the figure is not far off the one posted eleven years ago.
Seven people lost their lives, more than 8,000 people left their homes behind, and thousands worked tirelessly for three days to prevent further damage and loss of life resulting from the wide-spread flooding across Bohemia. By Tuesday, only two extreme danger zones remained in the Czech Republic, and most of the waterways that had raged only hours before had subsided. That said, parts of North Bohemia are still expecting the worst to come as the Labe continues to rise.
Standing atop of a small hill, with a tramline swooping around it, punctuated by a baroque Roman Catholic church on one side and a modernist Hussite church on the other, Rangherka, or the small Vršovice château, contains within its own story the history of the surrounding district as well. The original building was put up just as the then village of Vršovice began to grow and develop rapidly. Now, unlike the surrounding neighbourhood, it is a sad sight. The prominent neo-renaissance building is in ruins, with reconstruction having dragged on for
Prague authorities declared a state of emergency in the capital on Sunday afternoon after the Vltava reached the highest level of flood alert. Eight metro stations on the B and C lines have been closed including Vltavská, Florenc, Staroměstská and Malostranská, and the authorities announced parts of the metro would be closed on Monday. Flood barriers have been erected to protect Malá Strana, Old Town, and other parts of the capital. An emergency response team convened earlier on Sunday, and warned that individual and public transport will likely be restricted. Prague City Hall has launched an information hotline (800 100 99) for flood-related inquiries. Some parts of the city centre threatened by flooding might be evacuated later on Sunday.
Prague’s Charles Bridge has been closed for the public to allow access for heavy machinery which clears wood and other debris caught between the pillars of the bridge. The Na Františku hospital, located in the Old Town, is being evacuated; some patients were released to home care, others are being taken to other hospitals in the capital. Some animals in Prague’s zoo, which lies close to the river, have been moved further up from the swollen Vltava, including the garden’s gorillas, turtles, tapirs, and others. The zoo will be closed on Monday.
Prague City Hall has taken additional anti-flood measures on Saturday as the Vltava River in the capital reached the first flood alert degree. The authorities ordered that flood barriers be erected to protect Prague’s Old Town as well as the district of Zbraslav in the south. On Friday, sections of the embankment were closed in the centre of the capital. All boat traffic on the river in Prague will halt by Saturday night.
A court in Prague on Friday cleared two men of robbery charges. The men had been sentenced to 10 and 12 years in jail, respectively, for robbing 154 million crowns from a cash van in Prague in 2002; one of the men was tried in absentia. However, the trial was reopened last year after he was extradited from the Dominican Republic. On Friday, the court said there was no reliable evidence showing the men in fact took part in the crime.
Prague’s Václav Havel International Airport has cancelled 32 flights on Friday due to dense fog in the capital. Another dozen incoming flights have been diverted to airports in Brno, Ostrava and Dresden, Germany, a spokeswoman for the airport said. The cancelled flights include connections to Amsterdam, Berlin, Zurich, and other European destinations. More arriving flights could be cancelled later on Friday if dense fog persists.
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