Prague and the 2013 floods

By Tracy A. Burns

prague-floods-2013Triggering memories of the 2002 floods that ravaged the country, the European floods of 2013 have caused considerable damage in the Czech Republic in late May and early June. As of June 4, eight people have died due to the raging waters while five are missing. The cost of the damage exceeds a billion Czech crowns. More than 1,000 members of the Czech Army have helped construct flood barriers. Seven regions have been classified as states of emergency.

Inhabitants of the Czech lands evacuated

Over 19,000 inhabitants of the Czech lands were evacuated by June 5. Many inhabitants of northern, central, and western Bohemia were forced to leave their homes. Some towns are totally underwater, such as Vestec and Krinec nad Nymbursku as well as the historic bridge in eastern Bohemia’s Jaromer.  The historic town of Cesky Krumlov in southern Bohemia declared a state of emergency, too. The Decin, Frydlant, and Usti areas in northern Bohemia particularly felt the wrath of the waters. The Labe River has already flooded parts of Kralupy, Decin, and Hrenska.

Terezin Concentration Camp Tours from Prague

prague-floods-2013The situation in Prague

In Prague, the situation was no less severe. The water proved higher than the esplanades along the Vltava River. The waters showed their wrath at 3,000 cubic meters per second on June 3, still lower than the 5,000 cubic meters from the floods of 2002. Sections of Prague’s Metro were closed on June 2, and the following day there were no Metro stations open in the center of Prague. Also, some tram lines were no longer running. The city had to close the Charles Bridge, one of Prague’s main attractions, and have a digger get rid of debris that had gathered at the historic site. The Hostivar and Zabehlice districts of Prague were flooded. Hundreds of people were evacuated from the Modrany, Zbraslav, Lahovice, and Velka Chuchle districts of Prague.

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The Prague Zoo

In 2002, the Prague zoo was a victim of the disaster. The southern part of the Prague Zoo was flooded, forcing the staff to move animals to safer territory. Even the new pavilions were not spared. Damage to the zoo exceeds 160 million Czech crowns, while in 2002 the damage totaled 230 million Czech crowns.

 prague-floods2013Getting financial help

The government will take 4 billion Czech crowns from the state reserves to help with the costs to rebuild the damaged areas. The European Union will give financial aid to the country, too. Southeast Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Slovakia, Poland, and Hungry also became victims of the floodwaters.

The floods of 2002

The floods of 2002 lasted from August 7 to August 16. They rank as the most catastrophic event in the Czech Republic’s history and the worst disaster in the Czech lands since the floods of 1845. Seventeen lives were lost, and people feared buildings would collapse. Ten regions out of 14 found themselves in a state of emergency, and 225, 000 people were evacuated from their homes. Damage totaled 73.3 billion Czech crowns with more than 6 billion going to repair the Prague Metro system, which was closed for months. Seventeen of the 51 stations were underwater.

The victims include a brave sea lion

In Prague, the most ravaged districts were Karlin, Holesovice, and Kampa Island while the Jewish Quarter was also affected. The Prague Municipal Library, The Lesser Quarter, the National Theatre, and the Terezin memorial site to victims of the Holocaust were also in need of repairs. Approximately 40,000 inhabitants of Prague were forced to evacuate their homes. Floodwaters mercilessly attacked the Prague Zoo. A sea lion named Gaston braved the waters, swimming from Prague to Dresden, where he died. The floods of 2002 did not only bring havoc to the Czech Republic. Slovakia, Italy, Spain, Germany, Bulgaria, Croatia, Romania, Hungary, and Ukraine also succumbed. Asia was also affected.

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