Rivers swollen by melting snow and rain have forced the evacuation of hundreds more people across the Czech Republic. Residents of Olomouc, 250 kilometres southeast of the capital Prague, had to leave their homes yesterday after a dyke broke on the Morava river.
The government has now declared a state of emergency in seven regions. It will be in force until April the tenth. Six people have already been swept to their deaths in the Czech Republic but Prime Minister Jiri Paroubek has called the situation the calm before the storm.
Towns along the River Elbe have been affected in the Czech Republic and in Germany. The river has risen from its usual 2 metres to 8 metres in places. In Dresden, volunteers helped firefighters and soldiers pile up sandbags to reinforce dams.
The water level in the city was 7.32 metres yesterday. If it tops 7.4 metres the Gohlis district could be flooded. One firefighter said: “We’ve done everything we can. Now the water’s coming. As we live close to the River Elbe, we’ll have to wait and see.”
Temperatures could drop in the days to come, slowing down the melting of mountain snow, but more rainfall is predicted.