Dresden escapes flood as crest passes through

4th April 2006, Comments 0 comments

4 April 2006, DRESDEN, GERMANY - In Dresden, the German city where baroque palaces were ravaged by a monster flood four years ago, the Elbe River again lapped at the top of embankments and sandbag walls Tuesday as spring flooding reached its peak.

4 April 2006

DRESDEN, GERMANY - In Dresden, the German city where baroque palaces were ravaged by a monster flood four years ago, the Elbe River again lapped at the top of embankments and sandbag walls Tuesday as spring flooding reached its peak.

The mass of dirty brown water that last week caused devastation in the Czech Republic had flowed down the valley into Germany. Emergency services said as the crest arrived on the outskirts of Dresden that the river had stopped rising and the level was not as bad as feared.

But with several low-lying communities along the riverbank already flooded, there were fears as the crest passed Tuesday that earthen embankments softened by days of water seepage might collapse.

At Schoena, the first German town passed by the river after it reaches German territory, the river level reached a maximum at 10 p.m. Monday evening and had risen no further by noon Tuesday, mayor Andreas Eggert said. The water was 7.4 metres deeper than usual.

In Dresden, the first big German city on the river's course, the river appeared steady. City officials said it was at a level that had only been reached 17 times in the past five centuries.

However the river was 1.9 metres lower than in the great flood of summer 2002 which invaded Dresden's former royal palaces and parks, its main railway station and parts of the downtown area.

Other rivers draining central Europe's mountains have also been swollen by the spring melt and rain this week.

On one stream in Germany, an 86-year-old man lost his footing and drowned as he tried to wash out two garbage pails the previous day, police said Tuesday in the town of Bischofsheim-an-der-Rhoen.

Most rivers in Bavaria state in the south were falling. The Danube, Europe's main west-east water, which rises in Germany, had fallen about 1.3 metres from last week's peak at the German city of Passau. Forecasters said no worse flooding was now expected.

There are fears that with world climate change and alterations to the rivers' courses, flood disasters might happen more often.

Experts said the Germany had been hit twice in the past decade by wide-area floods of a scale that records indicated should be happening on average only once per century: a 1997 flood on the Oder River adjoining Poland and the 2002 flood on the Elbe.

DPA

Subject: German news

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