Floods threaten the Czech Republic again

The city of Hrensko in northern Bohemia, photo: CTK

Communities across Europe have recently been facing the threat of floods. Among them, towns and villages in the Czech Republic this weekend again faced the danger of flooding, only months after the country experienced its worst floods in centuries. While water levels are expected to decrease within hours - therefore averting a greater catastrophe - the psychological impact on citizens is a matter of much concern.

The city of Hrensko in northern Bohemia,  photo: CTK
Just as much of the damage from last August's floods is still being repaired, another disaster threatened some parts of the country yet again this weekend. Increasing water levels caused by heavy rain and melting snow led to a danger of flooding in twenty Czech towns, and even on Saturday it still was not clear if last year's disaster would be repeated. But water levels have since been decreasing, and the country will fortunately not have to deal with another catastrophe on the scale of the August floods.

One of the main areas affected this time around was the city of Usti nad Labem in northern Bohemia. The river burst its banks on Sunday, flooding some areas of the city. On Sunday afternoon the level of the River Elbe at Usti reached 7.55 metres; the average water level there is usually 2 metres. Residents remain on alert today as they wait for the swollen river to return to normal, and it is expected the level of the Elbe at Usti will begin to decrease from this afternoon.

Usti nad Labem,  photo: CTK
The residents of Usti nad Labem have not had their supplies of electricity, gas and hot water cut off, but some transport services have been affected by the flooding. Czech Radio‘s Ivana Solnickova is in Usti nad Labem and has more on the situation there:

"The flood stopped at the lower part of the garage in Pristavni Street. The water reached up to the homes in some parts of Strekovske Quay. Because of flooding at the U peti oblouku junction, a substitute bus service is running over both bridges to Krasne brezno and Nestemice. In Usti nad Labem there is no threat of electricity, gas and hot water services being cut off. But since yesterday afternoon twenty homes in the village of Roztoky have been without electricity. Firefighters have enough dryers for now."

Residents of Usti's Strekovske Quay had a sleepless night from Saturday through to Sunday, when water leaked into some of their cellars. They feared that the water would freeze and cause even more damage. But while property damage was a major concern, there have also been warnings that the psychological impact of the floods could have a terrible effect on residents who have had to face such a disaster twice in five months. Strekovske Quay, for example, was the area of Usti that was most damaged during last year's floods.

While Usti was one of the biggest urban centres that braced itself for floods this weekend, increasing water levels also threatened twenty other Czech towns. In Plzen the city's Hracholusky reservoir reached its peak Sunday night, but because it can hold so much water it managed to save the city from flooding. Water levels have continued to fall in other parts of the country, including in Prague. And this morning the highest flood warning - known as a ‘state of danger' - was still in effect for only four places, while yesterday evening it applied to seven areas.