Deadly floods threaten northern Germany
- June 11, 2013 7:25PM
German Chancellor Angela Merkel has praised rescue efforts on her third trip to flooded regions.
DEADLY floods forging a path of devastation through central Europe for more than a week are bearing down on northern Germany as troops race to bolster sodden dykes.
Swollen rivers in the German states of Saxony-Anhalt and Schleswig-Holstein pose the biggest threat after flood waters caused billions of euros in damage and left at least 19 people dead across Europe.
Two burst dykes on Monday alleviated some of the pressure on other fortifications up the Elbe River, but around 9000 soldiers were deployed in Saxony-Anhalt in the centre of the country to ensure they held.
And in Schleswig-Holstein in the north, fears focused on the town of Lauenburg, 40 kilometres southeast of Hamburg, where the Elbe is expected to peak on Thursday.
There the river has already reached a level of 9.56 metres, more than double the normal.
Power was cut to the old quarter of the town and some 400 people had to be evacuated.
Downriver the Elbe stabilised as towns and cities remained in a state of alert, particularly in Magdeburg, the capital of Saxony-Anhalt, where more than 20,000 have had to seek emergency shelter.
Meanwhile, Hungarians breathed a sigh of relief as the level of the Danube continued to fall on Tuesday.
Travel restrictions in Budapest were expected to remain in place for another week but a key bridge linking Hungary to Slovakia reopened to traffic.
Chancellor Angela Merkel made her third trip to the German disaster region on Monday and praised the “impressive” work of volunteers to keep the muddy waters at bay.
Merkel, who is just over three months away from a general election, is to meet Germany’s 16 state leaders Thursday to discuss recovery efforts.