Rising Flood Waters in Central Europe Claim at Least 6 Lives Thus Far
Parts of Europe have been ravaged by flooding lately and unfortunately, it looks like the angry waters aren’t about to let up anytime soon.
It all started last weekend when heavy rains made their way across central Europe; the Czech Republic, Hungary, Serbia and Slovakia were among the places flooded. The storms knocked out electricity in some areas and made others completely unavailable via rail travel. Thousands of people have been evacuated already and a state of emergency situation was declared for part of Hungary.
Poland has also received some serious damages from the flooding, too. At least 6 people have died thus far, including a firefighter involved in rescue efforts. Their famed Auschwitz-Birkenau memorial site was also closed in order to protect the Holocaust archives and artifacts contained within, making it the first time ever to be closed due to the threat of flooding.
Yesterday, Warsaw also began to prepare for the oncoming flood as they face the possibility of evacuating up to 16,000 people. Their main threat comes from the Vistula River, which is expected to reach its highest water level sometime today. Water levels already rose by 50 cm from Wednesday evening to Thursday morning and continued to rise by 20 to 30 cm per hour in some areas.
Relief efforts have varied greatly in each country, so far. Nearly 1,500 people in Hungary have helped with their flood defense, using 500,000 sandbags to reinforce dikes and attempting to contain the flooded waterways. The government of Slovakia intends to deploy up to 3,700 soldiers to help local authorities deal with the floods. Poland, however, has actually received some outside help from France and Germany, both of which have sent high-powered pumps to help Poland deal with the flooding.
Updates will be posted as things happen.
By Heidi Marshall