Following days of flooding, the minister of agriculture, Petr Bendl, ordered a reduction in the flow of water from a dam system in southern Bohemia on Tuesday. A ministry official said if the move were not taken, waters would breach defences in Ústí nad Labem and inundate much of the North Bohemian city. Officials say the River Labe is likely to culminate in Ústí nad Labem on Wednesday evening at a height of up to 11.5 metres, less than half a metre lower than the level seen during catastrophic floods in 2002. Around 6,000 people have been evacuated in the area and bridges and the local train station have been closed.
Prime Minister Petr Nečas has pledged CZK 5.3 billion towards dealing with the impact of the floods. Speaking at the village of Zálezlice in central Bohemia, which was also devastated in 2002, Mr. Nečas said most of the money would come from this year’s budget, while some would be found in a fund for road and rail infrastructure. He said the country would also seek help from the EU’s Solidarity Fund and has discussed the matter with senior officials from Saxony, which has also suffered from flooding. Meanwhile, public collections have gathered around CZK 3 million for victims.
The acting mayor of Prague, Tomáš Hudeček, says the flood situation in the city has stabilised. Speaking after a meeting of the capital’s crisis committee on Tuesday, Mr. Hudeček said streams flowing into the River Vltava had receded. Officials said water levels had culminated in Prague at around 6 AM. In some parts of the city cleanup operations and the calculation of damages have begun. However, much of its underground rail network remains closed and the metro may not reopen fully until the end of the week.
A meeting of the Prague City Council at which a new mayor was due to be elected has been cancelled in view of the flood situation, acting mayor Hudeček said on Tuesday. A vote had also been due to take place on Thursday on the formation of a new council. The elections are now likely to be held on June 20. Mr. Hudeček’s TOP 09 recently ousted Civic Democrat mayor Bohuslav Svoboda when a coalition of the two parties fell apart. A third significant grouping, the Social Democrats, have issued coalition demands that TOP 09 say are unacceptable.
The Oscar-winning filmmaker Michel Gondry will personally present his latest picture Mood Indigo at the opening of the 48th Karlovy Vary International Film Festival on the last weekend of June, organisers said on Tuesday. Among the films in the main competition will be Czech director Jan Hřebejk’s latest movie Líbánky (Honeymoon), while Alice Nellis’s Revival and a restored version of Vojtěch Jasný’s All My Compatriots are also on the programme.
The Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Čech has won the Czech Republic’s Golden Ball award for footballer of the year for the fourth time in a row and the eighth time in total. The prize is voted on by the country’s association of sports journalists. On Friday, Čech (31) and the rest of the national team face Italy in a crucial World Cup qualifier in Prague.
The Czech goaltender Tomáš Vokoun was benched in an NHL game for Pittsburgh Penguins on Monday that ended in a 6:1 defeat to Boston Bruins. One of the Bruins goal scorers on Monday was another Czech, forward David Krejčí, who helped the club open up a 2:0 lead on games in the Eastern Conference final.