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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 authorities have declared a state of emergency in four places in western and northern Czech Republic as heavy rain continues to swell rivers. The highest degree of flood alert has been declared in Srbská Kamenice, Stankov, Nová Huť and Benešov nad Ploučnicí where a retirement home has been evacuated. Meteorologists warn that waters levels will continue to rise through Saturday night and Sunday as more rain is expected, mainly in the western and northern parts of the country
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.
The police have charged eight people with corruption over the reconstruction of the National Stud Farm in Kladruby, a subsidiary of the Czech Agriculture Ministry. On Friday the police raided the farm as well as other places in eastern Bohemia and the capital. Prague’s high attorney, Lenka Bradáčová, said the people were charged with corruption in public procurement and harming the financial interests of the EU.
A funeral was held in the southern Czech city of Brno on Saturday for four members of a family killed last week, allegedly by an American national who is in US custody. Dozens of relatives and friends attended the funeral in a church in Brno’s district of Řečkovice, the ČTK news agency reported. A US man identified as Kevin Dahlgren, a relative of the family, is suspected of the murders; the Czech police believe he killed his victims with a knife before fleeing to Vienna and boarding a US-bound flight. He was arrested upon arrival in Washington, DC, last Thursday. The Czech authorities are yet to file an extradition request.