Hungary prepares for record floods as Danube rises

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Hungary prepares for record floods as Danube rises

Hungary prepares for record floods as Danube rises
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In parts of Hungary the Danube has risen higher than ever, and people are being told to prepare for record floods.

On Thursday András Altman left his keys in the garden gate of his house in a Budapest suburb; 24 hours later a friend had to fish under water to find them.

He has a boat, but it has never been moored in the garden before. The basement being completely flooded, András and his friends took everything out – even his bike.

People living in the area were told to be ready for evacuation, but András did not want to go.

“The problem with evacuation is that we would have to leave all our belongings here, even the old people living here don’t want to leave all their valuables behind, and neither do we. We’ll probably have to when the house is floating in the water, but only then,” he said.

The evacuation was delayed on Friday and residents were not told when it would happen.

In Budapest the water is expected to reach its highest level on Monday, but experts say the Hungarian capital should be spared a catastrophe. Yet just one or two centimetres could make a difference, and heavy storms are forecast for the weekend.

“In Budapest the water’s highest level will be 8.85 metres with a margin of error of 20 centimetres. But we made our gates higher, up to 9.15 metres, so the Danube probably will stay in its bed,” said Gabriella Siklós, spokeswoman for Hungarian Water Management.

Soldiers, experts and civilians will work together to protect what they can.

“In Hungary the Danube is constantly breaking records. It seems to me that a lot of people are afraid that this flood will be worse than ever,” said euronews correspondent in Budapest, Andrea Hajagos.