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Flooding crisis puts German river defences to test

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Flooding crisis puts German river defences to test


One river and two countries remain in the grip of a cross-border flooding crisis as preparations for the worst intensify.

Rising water levels on the River Oder along Germany’s frontier with Poland are already taking their toll. And, as efforts to reinforce flood defences are stepped up, the fear is that history will repeat itself.

Back in 1997, when Matthias Platzeck was the local environment minister, several towns and large areas of farmland ended up under water. As a result, millions were spent protecting riverbanks.

Now Brandenburg’s state premier, Platzeck maintains it is much better prepared than it was 13 years ago, with 137 kilometres of new dykes.

Germany’s Frankfurt an der Oder and Poland’s Slubice are on the frontline of the flooding emergency.

Some parts of Slubice have been evacuated, but on a voluntary basis, as authorities don’t want to spread panic.

Poland is reeling from its worst floods in decades, with at least 16 lives lost since the middle of May. And, as water levels on the Oder continue to rise, it seems the nightmare, for all of those who live there, is far from over.

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