Although water in the Labe river has stopped rising in most areas south of
Litoměřice, north Bohemian towns of Děčín and Ústí nad Labem await
the river's peak on Wednesday night and Thursday morning. Both towns have
been increasing flooded, as the Labe overflows the flood walls set up on
the embankments. Access to bridges, railroad stations and most streets
that run along the river are under water.
Distribution of electricity, gas and in some cases even running water in
parts of both
towns has been limited.
So far, this week’s floods in the Czech Republic claimed eight lives and some 19,000 people had to leave their homes. Some 31 thousand people around the country lost access to drinking water in their places of residence in the past four days, after flood water contaminated 636 wells and 72 public waterways.
The water levels of the Labe have not been rising in the town of Litoměřice, although it is not definite yet that they have reached their peak. Officials at the Lovochemie chemical plant in the nearby town of Lovosice decided not to release water into the complex despite the leaking flood barriers. The industrial complex, which produces chemical fertilizers, is now out of danger and the prime minister praised the company’s management for doing everything to avoid any damage to the environment. The Lovochemie complex was flooded in 2002 causing damage worth around 200 million crowns.
Firefighters in Mělník were able to successfully reinforce the flood levee protecting the town, which began leaking on Tuesday night. Water levels of the Labe began slowly subsiding at around noon in the town. Mělník’s mayor Ctirad Mikeš said that there is a 80% chance that the flood barriers will hold to protect the city. Some of the roads leading into the town remain closed.
Prague is preparing to remove the temporary flood walls that were set up along the Vltava river. Flooded roads and tram lines are being revitalized and clean-up work has started in the neighborhoods that were flooded. The water flow of the Vltava in the capital has gone down in the past 24 hours from 3,200 cubic meters per second to 2,500, allowing the Public Transportation Company’s employees to begin preparing the central metro station for reopening to the public, which is expected in the next two days. Five stations were reopened on Wednesday, but a number of others remain closed.
Prime Minister Petr Nečas announced on Wednesday that the government will increase the emergency budget for post-flooding transportation infrastructure repairs by two billion crowns. The government had already released 1.3 billion crowns from the infrastructure fund on Monday. As a result of flooding, fallen trees and landslides, 93 roads and around seven railroads in Bohemia are still closed. No estimates have been released for total damages to transportation infrastructure.
Six hundred Dutch soldiers, currently training in the south Bohemian Boletice, have offered their help with flood relief operations in the Czech Republic. The Czech government has so far turned down the offer. Two thousand Czech army officers have been helping firefighters and volunteers with flood relief efforts since the weekend. Some 32,000 professional and volunteer firefights have been working for the past four days in the areas affected by the flooding. Firefighters from Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, Germany, Luxemburg and Russia have also offered their help to the Czech Republic.
A large court complex in Prague 9 was evacuated after an unknown person called in a bomb threat at one of the court buildings on Wednesday morning. The complex houses the district courts and state attorneys’ offices for the Prague 4,6,8,9 and 10 districts. More than a thousand people had to leave the buildings and the surrounding area was cordoned off until the bomb squad finished examining the whole of the complex.
Five of Prague’s metro stations reopened on Wednesday, three days after the city’s transport authority closed much of the underground rail network as a precaution in view of the flood situation. Muzeum, Smíchovské nádraží, Kolbenova, Vysočanská, Českomoravská stations are now functioning again. A number of other stations in the centre of the Czech capital remain closed and passengers are making use of substitute bus and tram services. Officials said the entire metro system should be in operation by Friday.
Prague Zoo welcomed visitors again on Wednesday after being forced to close by the deluge. However, only the higher parts of the zoo are open as much of its lower parts – which lie by the River Vltava – have been badly flooded. Keepers moved around 1,000 animals as the flood waters approached and reported no losses. During catastrophic floods in 2002 over 100 of Prague Zoo’s animals were killed, including an elephant and a hippopotamus.
The Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Čech has won the Czech Republic’s Golden Ball award for footballer of the year for the fourth time in a row and the eighth time in total. The prize is voted on by the country’s association of sports journalists. On Friday, Čech (31) and the rest of the national team face Italy in a crucial World Cup qualifier in Prague.
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