I'll drown with my village

The heavens opened up above the Oder yesterday, compounding the misery of thousands of people already exhausted from their battle against the flood of the century. As the rain pounded rescue workers on the banks, the river broke through the dykes in three places, forcing the evacuation of 10,000 people and their livestock.

Aurith, a hamlet 20 miles downstream from the confluence of the Oder and the Neisse, was inundated for the second time. Inhabitants of Wiesenau and Ziltendorf near by were also asked to leave, as river defences were crumbling. Officials set up emergency shelters in schools and gym halls in villages still on dry land, but many villagers refused to leave their homes and tried to save them by piling up yet more sandbags. Many clung to their houses, surveying the new waterworld from the top floor of their damp property, because of a widespread fear of looting.

"I'll drown with the village," said Rainer Bublak, mayor of Wiesenau. Several hundred extra police and border guards were dispatched to the area to protect property. They pledged to patrol the ghost villages night and day.

In Brieskow, which lies 7m (21ft) below the crest of the waves, the authorities had been trying since morning to persuade residents to leave. Appeals were broadcast, church bells rang out, sirens wailed. Nevertheless, some people were still there last night.

Rescue workers did better in Ziltendorf, where the danger was imminent. "The evacuation is proceeding in am orderly manner," said Manfred Krohe, a spokesman of the Brandenburg regional government. But he admitted "many families at first bring only their children to safety".

Downstream, in Frankfurt an der Oder, the dykes were holding but beyond it the situation grew critical. A makeshift wall of sandbags collapsed north of Frankfurt, deluging fields in the Oderbruch. This region is the most vulnerable section of the river in Germany, home to 19,000 people.

The breach relieved pressure for the moment on the barriers but if more rain comes the whole area will be evacuated. In Poland and the Czech Republic, where the waters of the Oder originate and have already claimed more than 100 lives, it was raining too yesterday.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Account Manager

£20000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This full service social media ...

Recruitment Genius: Data Analyst - Online Marketing

£24000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: We are 'Changemakers in retail'...

Austen Lloyd: Senior Residential Conveyancer

Very Competitive: Austen Lloyd: Senior Conveyancer - South West We are see...

Austen Lloyd: Residential / Commercial Property Solicitor

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: DORSET MARKET TOWN - SENIOR PROPERTY SOLICITOR...

Day In a Page

Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there