Subscribe free to our newsletters via your
. Earth Science News .

Merkel pledges aid amid flood surge
by Staff Writers
Passau, Germany (AFP) June 04, 2013

Chancellor Angela Merkel pledged 100 million euros in emergency aid for flood-ravaged areas on Tuesday as surging waters that have claimed at least 11 lives and forced tens of thousands of evacuations across central Europe bore down on eastern Germany.

Heavy rains have turned vast regions into lakes, cut off villages, severed transport links and left historic city centres under muddy brown water. The inundations have also brought back dark memories of devastating floods that killed dozens in 2002.

The largest volumes of water have travelled down two of Europe's great river systems: the Danube, which runs from Germany through Austria and central Europe into the Black Sea, and the Elbe, which flows from the Czech Republic through eastern Germany into the North Sea.

Merkel travelled by helicopter over the flood zone and visited three impacted areas, starting in Passau, Bavaria, where the Danube meets two other rivers and peaked late Monday at 12.9 metres (42 feet), the highest level since 1501.

The chancellor vowed the emergency cash would be disbursed in an unbureaucratic way because "what's important now is that the aid quickly reaches the people". Property damage in Passau alone was estimated at 20 million euros ($26 million) by the city mayor.

Some people have paddled canoes down flooded streets in Passau, where drinking water, power and phone services were cut. Elsewhere stranded residents were evacuated from their soggy homes by rescue personnel using inflatable boats.

"The damage and the loss of income is a long-term matter. And that's why our support will not cease," said Merkel, who faces an election in less than four months and was later photographed helping to fill sandbags.

Across the region, the official death toll rose to 11 as Czech emergency services recovered the body of a man from the swollen Male Labe river in the northern Krkonose mountain range, near the border with Poland.

The deluge killed seven others in the Czech Republic, including a woman who was hit by an uprooted tree as she walked her dog. Two others died in Austria and one in Switzerland. Several more people were missing.

Across much of the swamped region, rail, road and river traffic links were cut, crops destroyed, schools and factories closed and hospitals evacuated.

In Prague, the flood water hit its highest level on Tuesday after inundating the city centre, displacing more than 8,000 people and forcing a night-time operation to move animals in the city's zoo to higher ground.

Tourists mingled with locals on Prague's bridges, taking pictures of the high water, sandbags in the doorways, anti-flood defences and the 14th-century Charles Bridge which remained closed to the public.

Prague mayor Tomas Hudecek bemoaned "an excessive surge in flood tourists" amid reports that some had attempted to dismantle anti-flood defences to take home as souvenirs.

Prague has installed anti-flood walls along 17 kilometres (10.5 miles) of riverfront, said fire brigade spokeswoman Nicole Zaoralova.

The mass of water was headed downstream to eastern Germany, where cities on the Elbe, including Dresden and Magdeburg, scrambled to prepare for potentially massive floods.

In Magdeburg, authorities declared a state of emergency and said they expected the river, normally at two metres, to rise to almost seven metres -- higher than in 2002.

In all, Germany deployed some 43,000 fire fighters and 4,000 troops in four states, securing dykes with sandbags, and providing food, shelter and clothes for displaced people.

Transport Minister Peter Ramsauer expected the damage to German road and rail infrastructure to reach hundreds of millions of euros.

Several events were cancelled, including a music festival dedicated to Baroque composer Georg Friedrich Handel planned for June 6-16 in the eastern city of Halle.

President Joachim Gauck declared that "the fate of the victims moves me ... I'm glad to hear that they are standing united in solidarity and determination in these hours and are receiving a lot of assistance and support."

Austria mobilised more than 20,000 firefighters, police and rescue workers and 800 soldiers in areas along the Danube, while Chancellor Werner Faymann promised compensation for the victims without specifying an amount.

Authorities predicted that waters would peak overnight in the Wachau valley some 100 kilometres (60 miles) west of Vienna.

In the Austrian capital itself, water levels may surpass those of 2002 in the next day or two.

Downstream in Hungary, Prime Minister Viktor Orban declared a state of emergency and mobilised more than 20,000 emergency and military personnel.

The peak of the Danube flood is expected in western areas Wednesday and in Budapest by the weekend.



Related Links
Bringing Order To A World Of Disasters
When the Earth Quakes
A world of storm and tempest

Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News

'Flood tourists' inundate deluged Czech capital
Prague (AFP) June 04, 2013
Tourists curious to see cresting floodwaters inundated the historic centre of the Czech capital Prague Tuesday as the river Vltava peaked amid heavy flooding that has hit central Europe killing at least 11 people. Prague mayor Tomas Hudecek bemoaned "an excessive surge in flood tourists" amid reports some had attempted to dismantle anti-flood defences to take home as souvenirs. Foreigner ... read more

More radioactive leaks reported at Fukushima plant

Japan disaster cash spent on counting turtles: report

Agreement over Statue of Liberty security screening

No health risk from Fukushima radiation: UN

Another American High Frontier First: 3-D Manufacturing in Space

Charred micro-bunny sculpture shows promise of new material for 3-D shaping

Flexible opals make for some colourful material science

The formula for turning cement into metal

To save corals, save the forests: study

Is enough being done to make drinking water safe

Catastrophic climatic events leave corals facing a decade-long fight for recovery

Monsoon rains arrive in India, bring cheer to farmers

Arctic current flowed under deep freeze of last ice age

Russian scientists make rare find of 'blood' in mammoth

Study explores atmospheric impact of declining Arctic sea ice

The Antarctic polar icecap is 33.6 million years old

Improving 'crop per drop' could boost food and water security

Researchers help threatened wheat crops in Asia

Pork takeover shows China hunger for foreign feasts

Asia concerns spread due to rogue US wheat

Merkel pledges aid amid flood surge

'Flood tourists' inundate deluged Czech capital

Ten dead, thousands evacuated as floods sweep Europe

Strong quake kills two, injures 21 in Taiwan

Now is the time to invest in Africa: Japan's Abe

Japan, eyeing China, pledges $14 bn aid to Africa

Climate change drowning the 'Venice of Africa'

Outside View: Somalia's Jubaland

Study: African terrain may have pushed humans into walking on two feet

170,000 living in subdivided flats in Hong Kong: study

Monkey teeth help reveal Neanderthal weaning

China newborn rescued from toilet pipe: report

The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2014 - Space Media Network. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement