At least two people have been killed in devastating floods gripping the western Czech Republic. The disaster caused by torrential rains has prompted the evacuation of metro stations, several hospitals and the zoo in the capital.
Heavy rain over the weekend has resulted in flood warnings in west, north, central and south Bohemia.
At least one woman is dead, after her home collapsed in Trebenice u Prahy, southwest of Prague and two people are missing after their raft overturned on the River Berounka in Hlasna Treban in central Bohemia.
In Prague, rescue workers, aided by the army, have set up flood barriers for the first time since the devastating floods of 2002. Hospitals, retirement homes and cultural institutions as well as the zoo are being evacuated across the city.
A state of emergency has been declared in the Czech Republic due to the threat of flooding, Prime Minister Petr Nečas announced in a televised address.
He added that the government has allocated 300 million Czech Koruna ($15 million ) to battle the flooding.
“The situation is very serious,” acting mayor Tomas Hudecek stated, as water levels in the Vltava, the river that flows through Prague, reached 1,513 cubic meters per second. During the 2002 floods 5,000 cubic meters was flowing through the city every second, according to the Prague Post.
The rising water levels have interrupted rail services between Bohemia and Moravia, with trains being stopped near Kolin.
The flooding also partially damaged half of the 51 metro stations in Prague, with 17 of them submerged, local media Ceskenoviny reports adding that the total damage was put at 73 billion Czech Koruna (about $4 billion) , 27 billion (about $1,5 billion) of which in Prague only.
Elsewhere in central Europe, at least four people have died or are missing because of floods in Germany and Switzerland according to the Associated Press.
Heavy rain is affecting the rivers Danube and Inn in Bavaria, while rivers in Saxony and Baden-Wuerttemberg have also burst their banks.
In Austria, a man was found dead in Salzburg as he was swept away while working on flood defenses and another two people are missing in the Salzburg area, according to the Salzberger Nachrichten.
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