Struggle against raging Elbe: Bundeswehr’ largest humanitarian operation
As of 10:35 a.m. Moscow time
Number of flood victims in Germany has already reached 13 people, about 100 are wounded; according to some sources, from 21 to 27 people are missing.
Seven dams burst in Wittenberg because of the flood on the Elbe. Local media inform, the situation has become even more complicated in Sachsen-Anhalt by Monday morning. A dam burst at a 200-meter strip near Prettin, and rescuers had to give up the salvation operations.
Within the night, Elbe’s confluent, the Mulde River, has completely flooded Waldersee, near Dessau. RIA Novosti informs, local authorities decided to start evacuation in several districts of Bitterfeld.
Two key railways connecting the capital of Sachsen-Anhalt, Magdeburg, with Berlin and Lepzig were closed because of the flood. The Elbe flood is expected to reach its peak level of 7 meters on Wednesday, that is why evacuation of the population has been already started.
The Elbe burst a 30-meter breach in the dam in Torgau and rushed further to the north of Germany; old and recently built dams fell broken on its way. Rescue workers are working hard to prevent the breach from broadening. Bundeswehr helicopters have been involved in the operation to drop sacks with sand down. Six settlements to the north of Torgau have been already flooded.
It is expected that the Elbe level within the Torgau precincts will drop below 9,45 meters and water pressure will reduce at the dams.
The struggle against the flood has become Bundeswehr’s largest humanitarian operation over its whole history. RIA Novosti informs with reference to Germany’s Defense Ministry, almost 19,000 of German servicemen are already taking part in the salvation operations, 4,500 more are in reserve.
The disaster reveals that the German people are not an egoistic crowd at all, and the younger generation is not a lazy gathering. Thousands of volunteers, youth mostly, are working day and night together with professional rescue workers.
NTVRU.com informs, a Russian EMERCOM plane will deliver two amphibious cars with high carrying capacity (2,5 tons) to Germany. The plane IL-76 left the Russian airport of Ramenskoye at 10 a.m. Moscow time today. Russian rescue workers will participate in liquidation of the flood consequences together with German rescuers.
A group of ten Russian lorries KamAZ, five MAZ and three escort lorries with 220 motor pumps, 490 heat fans and 90 diesel generators and equipment to check the stability of buildings will leave Russia for Brandenburg on Tuesday. Further, humanitarian aid is planned to be sent to the Czech capital and Hungary.
Today’s information from Hungary raises hopes. BBC informs, the Danube level has ceased increasing and fixed the mark of 8,48 meters. However, officials say the flood danger is not over yet, and water can still break the fortifications. Two thousand people have been evacuated from Budapest over several past days. Budapest mayor is optimistic all the same, he says, Danube embankment is strong enough to avoid a tragedy like in Prague and Dresden.
Recovery works are underway in the Czech republic. According to provisional data, 230 buildings have been destroyed by the flood, the damage is estimated at $2 billions, RTR-Vesti informs with reference to ITAR-TASS. Rescue workers from Denmark, Belgium, Poland are coming to the Czech republic. Russia’s EMERCOM is to deliver aid to the republic within the nearest time as well. Slovakia is calculating the flood damage. As a result of the Danube rise, navigation was stopped there for five days. It caused $7 million damages to the port of Bratislava. According to BBC, over 100 people fell victims to the flood in Central Europe. Provisional forecasts say, billions of euro will require to liquidate flood consequences.
Read the original in Russian: http://pravda.ru/main/2002/08/19/45881.html