Floods leave many people homeless

Village of Metly, photo:CTK

A week after devastating floods swept through the Czech Republic, life in the country is slowly returning to normal. Thousands of people have returned from evacuation shelters to clean up their homes, take stock of their circumstances and learn to live with their losses. But not everyone has a home to come back to.

Village of Metly, photo:CTK
Over 200 houses collapsed in the flood and many more are now slated for demolition. Daniela Lazarova has the story:

Receding flood waters are revealing the extent of the devastation wrought. Many people who were overjoyed to find their house still standing saw their relief turn to despair - their home was no longer habitable and slated for demolition. Every tenth apartment building in the Prague 8 district of Karlin is considered unsafe and will have to be torn down. Three buildings in the district have already collapsed. Across the country people are waiting to hear whether or not they will be left homeless. The authorities are doing their best to prevent evacuees from returning to their homes before they are declared safe, but many are doing so secretly , knowingly risking their lives to save pets or precious personal belongings left behind.

Prague city part of Karlin, photo: CTK
In Karlin alone, 25 thousand people are waiting to hear their fate. And amidst growing tension, the authorities are working on emergency plans to provide the needy with long-term accommodation and seeking ways to make new homes more affordable. The agriculture ministry has prepared an emergency construction plan for the flood-hit regions. The state will finance the construction of new homes from its emergency fund and money originally slated for regional development. The price of a new home will amount to 1,3 million crowns. 450. 000 would be provided in the form of emergency aid, the remaining 850,000 would come in the form of a low interest loan payable within 20 years.

The new homes are to be constructed in safer locations - ie. further away from river banks. Individual town halls have welcomed this form of aid and the number of "orders" is expected to exceed several hundred. The new houses will be constructed at a rate of approximately 30 a month - which still leaves many families wondering where they will be spending the winter.