Central Europe under water: Floods wreak havoc in Germany and Hungary

Tens of  thousands of people forced to evacuate their homes as further dramatic rises in the levels of the swollen Elbe and Danube rivers continued to cause chaos

Berlin

A A A

Tens of  thousands of people were being forced to evacuate their homes across swathes of Germany and Hungary today as further dramatic rises in the levels of the swollen Elbe and Danube rivers continued to cause some of the most devastating floods ever experienced in Central Europe.

In the east German city of Magdeburg, flood waters from the Elbe rose eighty centimetres higher than during  Germany’s so called 2002 “flood of the century” today. Some 23,000 residents were  forced to flee their homes as soldiers, rescue workers and volunteers battled furiously to shore up leaking dykes..

City officials said an entire district of  Magdeburg  faced the possibility being submerged and there were fears that an electricity supply station would be flooded and force power supplies to be shut off completely. “ You just cannot imagine what people are having to deal with,” declared German President Joachim Gauck after touring flood hit towns today.

The flooding northwards along the Elbe was expected to continue and even worsen this week as waters from river’s hugely swollen tributaries flow into the main river south of Magdeburg and head north west.

In southern Germany thousands of people were struggling with a massive clean up operation following devastating Danube river floods which hit parts of Bavaria last week.  Meteorologists said heavy rain was forecast for southern Germany and that further flooding in the region could not be ruled out.

So far at least fifteen people have died in Central Europe since the flooding began a week ago. In Germany alone, 70,000 firemen, 11,000 soldiers and tens of thousands of volunteer rescue workers are battling the floods.

Today the Elbe cities of Wittenberge, and Lauenburg were also hit by severe flooding and officials said they  expected water levels would remain high for days.. Elbe towns as far north as the state of Schleswig-Holstein were being evacuated as a precaution. By contrast 10,000 residents evacuated from the town of Bitterfeld, further south, were being allowed to return home today as the Elbe floodwaters receded.

In Germany, police said the already horrendous problems caused by the floods were exacerbated by letters circulated early on Sunday by a suspected leftwing group, which threatened to deliberately damage sections of already weakened river dykes in order to create chaos.

The letters signed by a group calling itself the “anti-German, anti-fascist flood brigade” threatened to strike at  dykes in order to “harm people across Germany”. Police said they were taking the threats seriously and had stepped up helicopter surveillance and road patrols throughout flood-hit areas.

In Hungary, thousands of volunteers, rescue workers and even prison convicts were reinforcing dykes along a 470 mile stretch of the swollen river Danube today as the country prepared for record flooding. Some 2,000 residents were evacuated from the village of Gyorujfalu in western Hungary because a dyke threatened to burst.

Small towns and villages have already been cut off and in the capital, Budapest the Danube is expected to reach record levels early tomorrow. Istvan Tarlos, the city’s mayor said that in the worst case up to 55,000 people would need to be evacuated from their homes.

Arts and Entertainment
The eyes have it: Kate Bush
music
Arts and Entertainment
booksNovelist takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Arts and Entertainment
Al Pacino in ‘The Humbling’, as an ageing actor
filmHam among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
News
Fifi Trixibelle Geldof with her mother, Paula Yates, in 1985
people
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
Mario Balotelli in action during his Liverpool debut
football ...but he can't get on the scoresheet in impressive debut
Environment
Pigeons have been found with traces of cocaine and painkillers in their system
environmentCan species be 'de-extincted'?
Arts and Entertainment
booksExclusive extract from Howard Jacobson’s acclaimed new novel
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
A Pilgrim’s Progress is described by its publisher as “the one-and-only definitive record” of David Hockney's life and works
people
Sport
Loic Remy signs for Chelsea
footballBlues wrap up deal on the eve of the transfer window
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Art
Arts and Entertainment
Elizabeth McGovern as Cora, Countess of Grantham and Richard E Grant as Simon Bricker
TV
Life and Style
Instagram daredevils get thousands of followers
techMeet the daredevil photographers redefining urban exploration with death-defying stunts
Arts and Entertainment
Diana Beard, nicknamed by the press as 'Dirty Diana'
TVDaughter says contestant was manipulated 'to boost ratings'
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Primary Teacher

Negotiable: Randstad Education Plymouth: Randstad Education Ltd are seeking EY...

Primary Teacher

Negotiable: Randstad Education Plymouth: NEWLY QUALIFIED TEACHER WE CAN HELP ...

Lead FE Software Developer (JavaScript, TDD, jQuery, Knockout)

£55000 - £65000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: Lead FE Softwa...

Year 4 Teacher

Negotiable: Randstad Education Plymouth: Year 4 Primary Teachers needed for Se...

Day In a Page

Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

The big names to look for this fashion week

This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York
Will Self: 'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

Will Self takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Toy guns proving a popular diversion in a country flooded with the real thing
Al Pacino wows Venice

Al Pacino wows Venice

Ham among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
Neil Lawson Baker interview: ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.

Neil Lawson Baker interview

‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.
The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

The model for a gadget launch

Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

Get well soon, Joan Rivers

She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

A fresh take on an old foe

Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering
Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

As the collections start, fashion editor Alexander Fury finds video and the internet are proving more attractive
Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy

Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall...

... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy
Weekend at the Asylum: Europe's biggest steampunk convention heads to Lincoln

Europe's biggest steampunk convention

Jake Wallis Simons discovers how Victorian ray guns and the martial art of biscuit dunking are precisely what the 21st century needs
Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

Lying is dangerous and unnecessary. A new book explains the strategies needed to avoid it. John Rentoul on the art of 'uncommunication'
Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough? Was the beloved thespian the last of the cross-generation stars?

Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough?

The atomisation of culture means that few of those we regard as stars are universally loved any more, says DJ Taylor