EASTERN EUROPE

Prague under water as Moscow battles fire

As Russia battled back massive forest fires under a suffocating heat wave in August, neighboring countries faced some of the worst floods in recent years. Read more and watch the videos...

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As Russia battled back massive forest fires under a suffocating heat wave in August, neighbouring countries faced some of the worst floods in recent years.

Heavy rains over the past 10 days have flooded parts of Poland, Germany and the Czech Republic. The most serious damage occurred along the Lusatian Niesse river banks, on the border between the three countries. The last wave of heavy rains and hail wreaked havoc in the Czech capital of Prague on August 15.

Although the worst of the floods seems to have passed, ongoing rain and strong winds have hampered cleanup efforts and sparked fears that fresh floods could sweep away reconstruction efforts.

Floods in the Czech town of Chrastava. Video posted on Youtube by 21cd36 on August 9, 2010. 

Floods in Prague on the night of August 15

A bus crosses flood-hit Prague on the night of Sunday, August 15. Footage of the bus itself being flooded. Posted on Youtube by jsemkluk.

Hail storm in Prague on the night of Sunday, August 15. Posted on Youtube by Jsemkluk.

"Just when it seemed the water level was going down, a huge wave swept over the whole town"

Mila Stavihovova is a resident of the Czech town of Chrastava, which was heavily damaged by the floods.

The flooding started on the night of Friday, August 7. It rained heavily all night long, and by 4am the nearby villages were underwater and authorities declared a state of emergency. Then a nearby river overflowed from its bed, flooding the streets of my village.

At around 9am, it seemed as though the worse was over and the water level was going down. That's when the main wave swept over the whole town. It was huge. The town centre, the railway station, all the telecommunication networks, everything was underwater within minutes. All bridges but one were completely destroyed. We couldn't leave our homes and nobody could enter the area until Saturday evening, when the water level went down.

Sunday we began to clean up and repair whatever we could, and on Monday the army and the volunteers arrived and full scale relief work started. I think they're doing a good job cleaning up. But the damage is huge, it will take a long time.

The first bridge was repaired on Monday 16, so now the heavy building machinery can reach the village. There are still a lot of volunteers all around, and soldiers as well. I don't know exactly how things are going in small mountain villages, which were inaccessible the first days, but I'm sure by now the army and humanitarian help have arrived everywhere.

Thankfully, my own house wasn't too damaged. The main wave stopped just 50 centimetres from it, and only the cellar is flooded. But overall it was a real disaster for the town."

Video of the damage and repair work in Chrastava. Posted on Youtube on August 16 by LadyEsKaty.