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That was the WET week that was – Krakow Floods

Wisła River flooded

The worst flooding for over a decade struck Poland killing at least seven people and leaving a trail of devastation from the Czech border to Warsaw that could cost the country in excess of EUR 2 bln.

After days of wet weather a 24-hour downpour dropped 20 centimetres of rain on parts of southern Poland over Sunday and Monday, the equivalent of two months’ worth of rain in one day.

The deluge led to widespread flooding, first on the Czech and Slovak borders, and then further into the heart of Poland as water flowed down the rivers Wisla and Odra.

Hundreds of homes were flooded and thousands of people displaced despite the best efforts of thousands of fire-fighters, troops and volunteers to shore up dykes and flood barriers.

Donald Tusk, the prime minister, called on people to heed evacuation warnings as water levels on the Wisla hit their highest point since the Second World War.

“I appeal to everybody to evacuate when the police or firemen come and say it is time. You must not wait,” said the PM.

“I know these are tragic decisions that have to be made, but it will only be worse if you endanger your own lives and those of  the rescue teams trying to get people out of already flooded areas,” he added.

As the flood closed in on Warsaw the water river rose to 700 centimetres prompting fears of extensive flooding in the capital, and adding to the already massive bill the deluge had caused.

“I expect the losses will top EUR 2 bln and I know we will have to find more funds,” said a sombre Mr Tusk while visiting the flood stricken regions.

“We will reduce other spending to achieve that.”

With little in the way of extra cash in the state’s coffers, the government said that it might ask the EU for emergency aid.

Anna Konik-Zurawska, a regional development ministry spokeswoman, said that under EU rules Poland can draw on the European Solidarity Fund when losses surpass a certain level.

“In Poland‘s case, the European Commission set the level at EUR 2.125 billion,” she told the PAP news agency.

May 23, 2010 Posted by | News | , , , , , | 5 Comments

   

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