Prague in state of emergency as water engulfs the city
Monday, June 3, 2013, 3:24 -
The Czech capital declared a state of emergency after being hit by the worst flooding the city has seen in over a decade.
More than 2,700 people have been evacuated from Prague after being hit by the worst floods the Czech Republic has seen in the last ten years.
The rising waters, caused by several days of rain, forced school closures, disrupted public transport and even led local authorities to close the famous Charles Bridge, usually jammed with tourists. Many roads and train lines were shut down, including the main one from Prague to the eastern part of the country.
Efforts to keep the River Vltava at bay were supported by volunteers and military troops, as metal flood barriers and sandbag walls were erected all throughout the city. Elsewhere in Prague, zoo officials were forced to tranquilize the tigers so they could be moved to the safety of higher ground.
Petr Necas, the Czech prime minister, has released emergency funds for those affected by the flooding. Necas has pledged 300 million Czech crowns (the equivalent of $15 million) and said another 2,000 troops are ready to join the nearly 300 soldiers already in the city.
To many, the flooding brings back memories of 2002, when rising water levels killed 17 people and forced tens of thousands to leave their homes. Following the disaster, the Czech government spent nearly $150 million on installing anti-flood system to protect the capital, as it is one of the countries main sources of tourism revenue.
The rain in Prague is expected to continue for at least another two days, leading many to believe that the rivers have not yet peaked and the situation could get worse before it gets better.