Press Review

Unsurprisingly, all of Tuesday's papers are full of photographs and stories on the devastating floods that have swept across the Czech Republic as well as some other parts of Central Europe. The only other event that the papers cover extensively is the death of the famous poet and collage artist Jiri Kolar, who died on Sunday at the age of 88.

Mlada fronta Dnes devoted the first six pages exclusively to the floods. Besides that, there is a special supplement carrying reports on individual regions across the country where the floods have hit the hardest and where thousands of people had to be evacuated or rescued. Iva Pekarkova reports from Prague and writes that people react in three ways: they don't believe it or they don't care, they understand the situation and panic, or they try to do something to help.

Animals in the Prague zoo aren't panicking and are calm, although some of them had to be moved to the upper part of the zoo, says the article and adds that it took 10 people to carry a giant turtle and an orangutan had to be tranquillized in order to be moved.

Whilst restaurant owners work hard to put up sand barriers aimed at protecting their property against a wave of water expected in Prague early this afternoon, tourists eat and drink leisurely and watch the panic around them, the commentator says.

Mlada fronta Dnes also warns against post-traumatic stress that thousands of people are likely to experience. Floods cause some people to lose their homes and are affected by such a misfortune for years. The traumatic experience is usually reflected in sharp headaches, stomachaches and depression. The best prevention against trauma is continuous information about the floods and a functional rescue network, says the paper.

Not hundreds, but thousands of people went to the banks of the river Vltava before midnight on Monday to watch the natural disaster, reports Pravo. The crowds included families with small children. Everybody was eager to take photographs or shoot videos of what is expected to be the most devastating flood that Prague will have seen since 1890.

The excited tourists were making it impossible for the volunteers and soldiers to work efficiently as they were trying to evacuate people and put up sand barriers to prepare for Tuesday afternoon. Several streets thus had to be shut off. The paper adds that the whole scene was not unlike a scene from a Hitchcock horror film.

Vaclav Petricek from the Agency of Nature and Landscape Protection comments on the natural disaster in Lidove noviny. He says that floods are natural phenomena and they can never be completely prevented, although humans do have a share in creating environmental conditions that make natural disasters appear more frequently, and with more devastating effects.

Mr Petricek believes that both emergency warning systems and specific measures to protect people's property need to be established. The latter would involve building dams as well as increasing forestation.

And finally, according to Hospodarske noviny many towns and villages have not had their property insured. Municipalities usually insure certain buildings and their equipment but bridges, roads and rail tracks are hardly ever covered by insurance policies. The state will have to pay for the damage caused by floods, concludes the paper.

Author: Kamila Rosolová
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