Fighting floods in Central European countries, 2013.

Juan G. R. Fighting floods in Central European countries, 2013.                                                                                                                  Water and Irrigation Vol 4, No. 1: 11-12, June, 2013, Spain.

At least 20 people were killed by heavy rains and heavy floods that since May 31, 2013, have been gradually affecting Germany, Czech Republic, Austria, Slovakia, Hungary and finally to Romania, also some regions of Switzerland and Poland . For 10 days the bad weather in the affected territories, caused damage of: thousands of homes, tens of thousands of cars, businesses and industries, roads and infrastructure, electrical systems, communications, have been completely or partially affected millions of hectares by floods and mud, tens of thousands of people have been evacuated from their homes. It is necessary to further increase: the ability of sewerage networks in cities, drainage of agricultural areas, protection of flood cities, the construction of dams that allow greater regulation of dripping, watershed reforestation. Economic losses were estimated at more than 19 billion euros.

At least 20 people were killed by heavy rains and heavy floods that since May 31, 2013, have been gradually affecting Germany, Czech Republic, Austria, Slovakia, Hungary and finally to Romania, have also been affected but to a lesser extent some regions of Switzerland and Poland. The channel of major rivers and tributaries in Central Europe have greatly increased causing huge floods affecting large areas and many towns in different countries throughout the week. The Danube River has a length of 2860 km and a basin of ​​817,000 km2, is the second largest river in Europe after the Volga River, this river is not located in Central Europe, has a length of 3531 km, a basin of 1360.000 km2 and an average flow of 8000 m3/sec. The Rhine and Elbe rivers have a length of 1326 and 1165 km and a basin of 252000 and 144 000 km2 respectively. The Vltava River is the longest river in the Czech Republic with 430 km long.

In Germany is expected to exceed the damage caused by floods similar in 2002. Chancellor Angela Merkel on Tuesday visited the flooded regions in southern Germany and promised immediate federal aid. Local media reported that a total of 11 300 German soldiers remain deployed in six regions of the country, and hundreds of volunteers work with the work of protection against flooding of the Elbe, Rhine and Danube rivers, a day after that the city of Passau in Bavaria suffered the worst floods since 1501. Flooding from these 3 rivers on the territory of Germany have affected large areas in cities and rural areas, there are factories flooded, damaged infrastructure, affected houses, flooded roads. Floods has left four dead.

Eight death toll rises in the Czech Republic because of heavy flooding rains that hit the country in recent days. According to Radio Prague, more than seven thousand Czech households are partially submerged in the water, many areas remain without electricity, gas and heating. A village 30 kilometers north of Prague, was completely flooded by the Vltava River with a flow that reached more than 3000 cubic meters of water per second, but the norm is 150 meters per second. The Usti nad Labem region next to the border with Germany, is one of the most affected in this country, the Elbe river level reached its critical point, at a rate of up to 10.7 meters and is expected to follow up the water level. According to the newspaper “Mlada fronta Dnes” in its electronic version, the region is more threatened northern Bohemia, where the Elbe River is already at a height of 11.3 meters, with 4 150 cubic meters per second. It is estimated that the damage caused by floods reach hundreds of millions of euros.

The number of deaths that have caused flooding in Austria, amounted to four. In the federal state of Lower Austria, more than 250 firefighters and numerous volunteers carry sandbags to protect and strengthen a barrier in the river Danube. In Vienna, the Danube river reached its historical maximum flow, to reach 10,600 cubic meters per second, the normal flow is around 2,000 cubic meters per second, beating the record of the devastating floods of 2002, according to the Water Department of the City of the capital.

The river Danube in Bratislava in Slovakia, stood this morning around 10.24 meters, according to the Slovak agency TASR, the authorities have decided to increase the number of troops to guard the most critical areas of the overflows, there are two fatal victims of these floods in Slovakia.

In Hungary in the city of Komarom, the water level in the Danube River reached a record of 8.05 meters. The Hungarian government warned the public to be prepared for more floods because of the threat posed by rising water level of the Danube River to reach about 9 meters in the section for that country. There are flood warning along 760 Km of the banks of the Danube Among the consequences of floods are reported evacuations of residents, flooded areas, public transport delays and outages of electricity.

The heavy rains have also caused floods that have affected lowland lesser extent in many regions of Switzerland and southwestern regions of Poland near the border of the Czech Republic and Germany, the Polish authorities have already approved grants of up to 1,400 euros per family for those affected by the floods, said the head of the Crisis Management Department in the region of Lower Silesia.
Romania, the last country where the river Danube flows before to go into the Black Sea, is in a state of alert to the risk of flooding. The heavy rains that hit the northeast of Romania since 6 June resulted in two dead, homes flooded, power outages in several towns and roads blocked, said the Ministry of Interior.

After 10 days of heavy rains and floods in different countries of Central Europe, the rivers have begun to gradually reduce its flow. Economic losses from the floods were estimated at more than 19 billion euros. The European Union has made great efforts in warning and flood control, but in the fight against flooding is necessary to increase even more: the capacity of the sewer systems in cities, the drainage of agricultural areas, protection of cities against floods, the construction of dams that allow greater regulation of dripping, reforestation of watersheds and cleaning the channels of rivers and tributaries.

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