Dutch village evacuated as dike threatens to burst

5th January 2012, Comments 0 comments

Dozens of people in the polder reclaimed land near the village of Tolbert in the northern province of Groningen have been evacuated as a result of extreme high water. The dikes around the polder are threatening to burst and hundreds of farm animals have been brought to safety as well.

The area, known as the Tolberter Petten, is an area of 200 hectares of reclaimed land. There are 40 buildings in the area, ten of which are farms. The high water is already spilling over the top of the dike into the area.

Pumping stations A spokesperson for the fire brigade says there is a substantial risk that the dike will break. No-one is allowed back into the area.

The Noorderzijlvest water authorities are trying to reinforce the dike, to stop it from giving way. The spokesperson reported that the emergency services could no longer guarantee the safety of people in the area. Water levels are too high. Special areas which are designated for excess water storage are already so full that no more water can be redirected to these areas. In addition, more water is on its way from upriver.

Other polders in the region do not appear to be in danger of bursting. Pumping stations in the north of the country have been working flat out to get rid of excess water. Last night, heavy rains and strong winds  only added to the problem.

Some flights cancelled A number of flights to and from Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport have been scrapped due to strong winds. A spokesperson for the airport says that at the moment 15 departures and arrivals have been affected.

The Dutch motoring association the ANWB and Transport Ministry have warned motorists to take care in the next few hours because of the strong winds. Motorbikers have also been warned to take extra caution. Strong gusts in the coastal areas especially are likely to cause dangerous situations.

© Radio Netherlands Worldwide

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