Record floods in southern Germany have subsided to some extent in certain areas. Other parts of the country continue to hold their breath as the worst flooding may still be to come.
For some residents in southern Germany, Wednesday marked the first day they could begin assessing the damage of the floods that have hit wide swathes of the country.
The eastern German city of Dresden was one of the places where citizens were bracing for the worst. Over 600 people have been evacuated there as water levels were expected to rise to 8.27 meters (27.1 feet) – well above normal levels of around two meters.
Across the border in the Czech Republic, the story is the same: the cities of Usti-nad-Labem on the Elbe river are also expected to see peak flood stages. The same rush of water is expected to hit Dresden downriver on the Elbe.
Magdeburg, which also lies on the Elbe, is expecting water levels to rise nearly 5 meters (16.4 feet) above normal. A state of emergency has been declared there, and other cities along the Elbe in German state of Saxony are taking similar precautions.
At least 11 people have died as a result of the flooding in Germany, Austria, and the Czech Republic.
In other affected flood regions in southern Germany, cities are shifting focus from preventing to assessing the damage.
The Bavarian city of Passau, one of the worst hit areas where three rivers converge, saw water levels of 12.89 meters on the Danube river – the worst in roughly 500 years.
Water levels have since receded, and on Tuesday, German Chancellor Angela Merkel paid a visit to the region and promised "unbureaucratic" aid to Passau and other flood-hit areas.
"The federal government yesterday readied an initial fund of 100 million euros ($130.7 million)," Merkel said in Passau on Tuesday evening, saying the money was for the states of Bavaria, Saxony and Thuringia. The three states combined would match this sum, the chancellor said. "When the water levels recede, then we will convene again to discuss how to go forward."
mz/kms (dpa, AFP)