Northern German towns brace for new flood wave

7th April 2006, Comments 0 comments

7 April 2006, MAGDEBURG, GERMANY - Towns in northern Germany were bracing for more flooding on Friday as water levels continued to rise in the Elbe river.

7 April 2006

MAGDEBURG, GERMANY - Towns in northern Germany were bracing for more flooding on Friday as water levels continued to rise in the Elbe river.

Southeast of the port city of Hamburg, the Elbe flood crest swamped the low-lying town of Hitzacker, flooding three-quarters of the centre to a depth of 20 centimetres.

In the nearby historic town of Lauenburg, the river rose to a level of 8.73 metres Friday morning, three centimetres higher than the record-breaking floods of August 2002.

If it rises above 9 metres it could flood the town and its half- timbered houses dating back to the 16th and 17th centuries, said Bettina Kalytta of the River Services and Shipping Authority.

The environmental ministry in the state of Lower Saxony said it was handing out 800,000 sandbags to help shore up dykes and protect property in acute danger from floodwaters.

Thousands of helpers, including volunteers and members of the armed forces, were helping to stabilize dykes along the banks of the river.

Upriver in Dresden, which was ravaged by floods in 2002, the level of the Elbe continued to recede but was still high. The dykes were holding, thanks to repeated patching of weak spots.

"This time Dresden experienced less water than in 2002 but here we've got much more," Kalytta said in Lauenburg. She attributed this to melting snow from the mountains of central Germany filling the Elbe and its tributaries.

DPA

Subject: German news

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