Floods in central Europe
Wehlen, in Saxony (Germany), on June 4

‘A veritable catastrophe for the region’

Flooding in central Europe, caused by torrential rains, has killed 11 people and led to the evacuation of tens of thousands of others. The floods and the damage they have caused is the June 5 lead story for most of the region's press.

Published on 5 June 2013 at 15:23
Wehlen, in Saxony (Germany), on June 4

"The North is sinking," headlines Czech financial daily Hospodářské Noviny, as flooding in Bohemia continues for the fourth consecutive day. In Prague, where the Vltava broke its banks on Tuesday morning, the situation seems to have stabilised but Ústí nad Labem and the north of the country are threatened by the rising Elbe River, the paper says, adding that –


The arrival of the century's second flood in 11 years is a veritable catastrophe for the region, which already suffers from a high unemployment rate, a threatened industrial sector, a tense social climate and indebted administrations.

The flooding of the Danube is ravaging Austria and in particular Salzburg, the Tyrol and the Vorarlberg region. Austrian daily Die Presse warns that "400,000 buildings in Austria are in areas at risk of flooding, mud slides, or avalanches, including 150,000 in permanent-risk 'red zones'". The paper adds that –

Receive the best of European journalism straight to your inbox every Thursday


some Länder now plan to implement stricter [construction] regulations. River banks should become untouchable and [existing] construction projects will be cancelled. [...] But these types of considerations are certainly secondary for the flood victims – they are concerned with their damaged homes. Help is available from the federal government – never mind the budget situation – funds will be made available for immediate aid [...], as much as necessary, promised Chancellor Werner Faymann.

In Germany, Chancellor Angela "Merkel awards €100m to the flood victims, headlines German daily Der Tagesspiegel. In the Bavarian town of Passau, the waters reached a record level of over 12 metres – "the worst flood in more than a half-century," the paper says. It also notes that, just three months before scheduled legislative elections, Merkel has kept a low profile during her recent trips to the flooded areas–


It is honourable of Angela Merkel to put on her wellington boots. She is being discretely demonstrative. She has probably guessed that every one of her actions could be one too many. [...] Merkel had to abandon a big production so it would not be over interpreted.

"The waters can flood the country," says the front page of Hungarian daily Népszava. It is Hungary's turn to prepare for the onslaught of the historic flooding by the Danube. The river's level could reach 8.75 metres, or 15cm over the record highs posted in 2002 and 2006. Népszava adds that –


A state of emergency was declared at noon on Tuesday [June 4] by Prime Minister Viktor Orbán. […] The authorities are taking things very seriously and are ready to mobilise all of the country's available human resources (8,000 soldiers and 8,000 first responders) to the flood-threatened areas.

Was this article useful? If so we are delighted! It is freely available because we believe that the right to free and independent information is essential for democracy. But this right is not guaranteed forever, and independence comes at a cost. We need your support in order to continue publishing independent, multilingual news for all Europeans. Discover our membership offers and their exclusive benefits and become a member of our community now!

Are you a news organisation, a business, an association or a foundation? Check out our bespoke editorial and translation services.

Support independent European journalism

European democracy needs independent media. Join our community!

On the same topic