Press Review

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They say a picture is worth a thousand words, and the many, many photos in Monday's dailies recording the damage caused by the recent floods certainly prove that saying. Collapsed buildings, clean-up work, exhausted rescue workers, distraught flood victims, town signs almost completely submerged; so many photographs tell the same tragic story - the Czech Republic has been utterly devastated by the events of the last ten days.

They say a picture is worth a thousand words, and the many, many photos in Monday's dailies recording the damage caused by the recent floods certainly prove that saying. Collapsed buildings, clean-up work, exhausted rescue workers, distraught flood victims, town signs almost completely submerged; so many photographs tell the same tragic story - the Czech Republic has been utterly devastated by the events of the last ten days.

Mlada fronta Dnes carries a map of the Prague transport system, and it does not make for pleasant reading for residents of the city. Only seven trams - that's about a third of the total number - are running on their regular routes; all the others have been diverted. The metro system is still severely restricted, and is expected to stay that way until January. When thousands of people return from their holidays, there could be a total traffic breakdown, the daily warns.

Hospodarske noviny looks at exactly why the city's underground system has been so badly hit, and says the transport authority are partly to blame. The daily says that some metro stations had inadequate flood barriers, while the barriers were closed too late in others. Transport authority director Milan Houfek tells the daily that the causes will become clearer when the stations have been pumped out. On Sunday, almost half of the city's metro stations were closed, and 14 of them were still flooded.

The reason some people were reportedly reluctant to obey evacuation orders last week was fear of looting. That fear was not unfounded - according to Pravo, three people have now been charged with robbery in evacuated areas of Prague. One of them, a Slovak woman, was sentenced immediately and is now serving a four-month prison sentence. There have also been attempts to loot in other flood-hit parts of the country, the daily reports.

Lidove noviny is one of several newspapers to carry photos of President Vaclav Havel visiting flood- affected parts of Prague on Sunday. Mr Havel said that there has been a wave of solidarity with the Czech Republic from abroad, and that the presidents of several countries had called him with offers of help. "My role in this crisis is to facilitate international aid," Mr Havel told journalists.

Many of the briefs in Monday's dailies are also related to the floods. Lidove noviny carries the bad news that some half a million books and archives in the Czech Republic's libraries have been damaged, while Mlada fronta Dnes has a little bit of good news for Prague - Charles Bridge is to reopen on Tuesday.

A lot of people in the Czech Republic and abroad have been distressed at the news of the damage to Prague zoo, and the loss of several animals, caused by the floods. Mlada fronta Dnes writes about the failed attempt to recapture one of the seals which escaped into the river system last week. The 12-year-old, 200-kilogramme seal is now in German waters, and has evaded both boats and a German police helicopter in its bid for freedom.