Thursday, June 13, 2013

Merkel urges greater flood protection as tours region

Space Daily via SPX: Chancellor Angela Merkel said Wednesday that Germany still had much to do in bolstering the country's flood defences as she toured a northern water-logged region battling historic river levels.

Merkel made her fourth trip to flooded zones in around a week, visiting Hitzacker in Lower Saxony whose 4,000 residents have been told to leave their homes despite an anti-flood barrier set up after devastating 2002 floods.

The defence system has prevented the swollen River Elbe gushing into the town and Merkel said it showed the protective measure was worth having but said "there remains a lot to do", pledging further steps. She earlier went to Lauenburg, 40 kilometres (25 miles) southeast of Hamburg, where the town centre is covered by about 30 centimetres (a foot) of water.

The water level stabilised at around 9.5 metres (31 feet) overnight in the picturesque town of half-timbered houses but was still almost twice as high as normal.

Disastrous floods in Germany began to subside Wednesday after leaving at least 19 people dead in central Europe. While the River Elbe has begun to stabilise, thousands of volunteers are still working to shore up sodden dykes and some 10,000 soldiers are still helping in flooded regions....

The Elbe's high water mark in Dresden, shot by Coffins, Wikimedia Commons, under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license

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