Prague’s Charles Bridge has been closed for the public to allow access for heavy machinery which clears wood and other debris caught between the pillars of the bridge. The Na Františku hospital, located in the Old Town, is being evacuated; some patients were released to home care, others are being taken to other hospitals in the capital. Some animals in Prague’s zoo, which lies close to the river, have been moved further up from the swollen Vltava, including the garden’s gorillas, turtles, tapirs, and others. The zoo will be closed on Monday.
The Czech government has declared a state in emergency in all Czech regions with the exception of the eastern Pardubice region over severe flooding. The cabinet has also released 300 million crowns to assists municipalities in dealing with the damages. Heavy and persistent rain has raised water levels on a number of rivers, mainly in the south, west and north of the country. Highest flood alert levels have been declared at more than 50 sites including the capital Prague. Hundreds of people had to leave their homes. South and central Bohemia are the heaviest hit regions where dozens of places report 10- to 50-year peak floods.
Two of the people charged with embezzling EU funds in the reconstruction of a state stud farm have been placed in police custody, a court in Pardubice said on Sunday. Another five people charged in the same case might be taken in custody later on Sunday, a spokesman for the court said. The police charged eight people with corruption over the reconstruction of the National Stud Farm in Kladruby, a subsidiary of the Czech Agriculture Ministry. The charges include harming the financial interests of the EU as the reconstruction was partially financed by EU funds.
The Czech government is to meet at an extraordinary session on Sunday evening to coordinate relief and rescue efforts in the wake of the floods, PM Petr Nečas said. The government has summoned 200 Czech army troops to assist in flood response, and the government is expected to allocate more military personnel. Finance Minister Miroslav Kalousek said hundreds of millions of crowns could be released from financial reserves to assist local authorities.
Prague authorities declared a state of emergency in the capital on Sunday afternoon after the Vltava reached the highest level of flood alert. Eight metro stations on the B and C lines have been closed including Vltavská, Florenc, Staroměstská and Malostranská, and the authorities announced parts of the metro would be closed on Monday. Flood barriers have been erected to protect Malá Strana, Old Town, and other parts of the capital. An emergency response team convened earlier on Sunday, and warned that individual and public transport will likely be restricted. Prague City Hall has launched an information hotline (800 100 99) for flood-related inquiries. Some parts of the city centre threatened by flooding might be evacuated later on Sunday.
In other news, the Czech Republic’s first quintuplets were born in Prague on Sunday morning. A 23-year-old mother gave birth to four boys and one girl; all of them are in good health, the news website idnes.cz reported. The newborns’ names were given as Tereza, Michael, Deniel, Martin and Alex. The babies, conceived naturally, were born by C-section at 31 weeks of gestation at the Podolí hospital. Each of them weighed around 1,200 grams at birth, doctors said.
A major Czech and international railway line has been cut off when the Labe in Kolín, central Bohemia flooded railway tracks and the local station. Flooding halted traffic on the busy Prague-Brno line, used by a number of international expresses running between Berlin and Vienna, Bratislava and Budapest. Czech Railways said they were diverting trains or putting passengers on buses instead. Traffic on the line should resume by 10 PM, a spokeswoman for firm said.
Two people have died and three are missing in floods that hit parts of the Czech Republic over the weekend. A woman and a man died in Třebenice outside Prague on Sunday when their house collapsed, the news agency ČTK reported. Three more people have disappeared when rafting on swollen rivers on Friday and Saturday. The authorities have strongly warned against undertaking any activities on or near rivers.
Up to 100 mm of precipitation has been registered over the last 24 hours in some parts of the Czech Republic. More rain is expected in the coming hours and should only cease at night. Meteorologists warn however that water levels on many rivers’ lower reaches will continue to rise for hours to come. This should affect the Berounka and the Vltava in central Bohemia, the Labe in northern Bohemia, and other rivers.
Prague City Hall has taken additional anti-flood measures on Saturday as the Vltava River in the capital reached the first flood alert degree. The authorities ordered that flood barriers be erected to protect Prague’s Old Town as well as the district of Zbraslav in the south. On Friday, sections of the embankment were closed in the centre of the capital. All boat traffic on the river in Prague will halt by Saturday night.
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