Berlin, Dec 29 (IANS) After weeks of heavy rainfall, the flood situation in many parts of Germany remains serious in the run-up to New Year’s Eve. Several districts have declared the preliminary stage of a disaster alert.
Cities and municipalities along the rivers Elbe and Weser in eastern and northern Germany continue to be affected by high water and flooding. After a dyke burst in Lilienthal near Bremen on Wednesday, many residents had to be evacuated and there are fears of further dyke failures in nearby towns.
In some flood areas, relief work is being hampered by disputes among those affected, Xinhua news agency reported.
“Sandbags that have been placed on dykes are being taken away by residents because they don’t have any to protect their homes,” said Karl-Heinz Banse from the German Fire Brigade Association.
Elsewhere, preventive measures against flooding disasters have been successful. In Magdeburg in the state of Saxony-Anhalt, the Pretzien weir was opened for the first time since the “flood of the century” in 2013. The weir diverts a third of the water from the Elbe into a 21-km-long canal.
“Protecting the population from flood hazards is our top priority,” said Saxony-Anhalt’s Environment Minister Armin Willingmann on Thursday, highlighting “consistent investments” in dykes and flood protection facilities in recent years.
Although not as much rain is expected over the next few days as around Christmas, “every drop is actually one too many,” meteorologist Marcel Schmid from the German Weather Service told the country’s news agency dpa.