Flooding Causes Travel Chaos in Europe and Billions in Damages
MUNICH—Europe’s second “flood of the century” is continuing to wreak havoc throughout the continent.. Germany, Austria, the Czech Republic and Poland have been heavily impacted by the flooding as several rivers including the Elbe and Danube came close to their record levels of 2002. On Friday, in the German city of Dresden, the Elbe River was just below the level that the city experienced during floods in 2002.
In Bratislava, the Slovakian capital located along the banks of the Danube, water levels are three times their normal height. Hungarians are building temporary dams along the Danube River and preparing for a mass evacuation of up to 100,000 people as they prepare for a surge of water.
“Hungary is bracing itself for the biggest ever flood, and it needs to prepare for the worst,” said Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán at a news conference on Friday. “That’s why I am requesting greater collaboration and cooperation than before from everyone.”
Extended periods of rain over the past week have caused rivers and lakes to flood across Europe a mere eleven years since thousands of people lost their homes to floodwaters. Since then, dykes have been built in many of the affected areas but unfortunately not everywhere. The flooding is expected to cause damages of more than €6 billion in Germany alone.
The flooding in Europe dramatically impacted travelers in the region. Rail service in southern and eastern Germany and in Austria has been either canceled completely or experiencing heavy delays. Bus and train service between Munich and Salzburg is not operating. and train connections to Italy via Innsbruck were either canceled or significantly delayed. Airports in the region, however, were operating normally.
The German Autobahn A8 was closed to traffic near the Chiemsee in the direction to Munich and Austria for more than five days. The flood caused heavy damage to the more than 70-year-old Autobahn.
In Germany, more than 70,000 volunteer fire fighters and 11,300 soldiers from the Bundeswehr (German Armed Forces) are still trying to secure and strengthen dykes near the most critical rivers. People living in the flooding area had to leave their homes and were evacuated to rescue centers in the safe areas.
Jesse Sokolow contributed to this report.
(Photo: Accura Media Group)