Czech authorities to hold three-day flood simulation exercise
The Czech Republic is still counting the costs from the two devastating floods that hit the country in 1997 and 2002. Just this week in fact the Agriculture Ministry released a report estimating the financial cost of the two great floods at more than 150 billion crowns, or 7.3 billion US dollars. To ensure the country is better prepared for another calamity, the emergency services are about to hold a three-day simulation exercise.
To make sure they're even better primed the next time round, the emergency services and local councils are about to stage a three-day simulation exercise, testing response mechanisms put in place after the two big floods. Petr Kopacek is the spokesman for the Czech fire brigade.
"The Czech Republic - its individual state and local authorities - are far better prepared for a largescale flood compared to 1997 and 2002. As far as the fire brigade's concerned, we've passed a whole series of measures in the last ten years to improve our flood readiness. They include new equipment, new communication plans, improving the emergency hotlines, introducing the new pan-European 112 emergency number and improving the operational and information centres."
Wednesday sees the start of a three-day simulation exercise, to test just how well the emergency services and local authorities respond to a similar catastrophe. The exercise, dubbed Vltava Labe 2007, will be held across six regions as well as the capital Prague, encompassing 135 towns and villages along the Vltava, Labe and Ohre rivers and bringing in representatives of the Interior, Defence and Environment Ministries.
Petr Kopacek told me no simulation can perfectly replicate reality. But with this extensive three-day exercise, the Czech authorities are testing their readiness to fight a devastating flood to the full.