Germany Elbe Floods Update

Levels of the river Elbe in Magdeburg are now falling steadily. The levels reached a record height of 745cm. The previous record was during the floods of 2002 when levels reached 672cm. The level currently stands at 683cm (at 09:30 on 11/06/13) which is still higher than 2002.

The breached dyke at Fishbeck in Saxony-Anhalt has brought chaos to the area. Fishbeck is about 70km north of Magdeburg and 100km east of the German capital, Berlin. All residents of the village were asked to evacuate their homes. Resident of around 10 neighbouring villages were also asked to evacuate.

Dam Breaks at Fishbeck, germany - Photo Reuters
Dam Breaks at Fishbeck, germany – Photo Reuters

There are concerns about other dykes and flood defences in the area. A further dyke near Magdeburg, in a town called Klein Rosenburg, was breached on Sunday. A dyke in the Havelland area was said to be in crticial condition after it had moved around 30 metres under intense pressure from the flood waters. At least three other dikes were in danger of bursting in the region, authorities added. In addition, the River Elbe broke its banks and caused flooding in the Brandenburg town of Wittenberge.

The high river levels of the Elbe are now moving north and focus is now on areas along the river between Magdeburg and Hamburg. At the moment, the town of Lauenburg, Schleswig-Holstein, which is about 50 km south east of Hamburg, is considered most to be at risk. Flooding is expected to hit there in the next few days. The town, which has a population of around 11,000, has begun evacuation proceedings as a precaution.

Flood defences along the River Elbe at Lauenberg Christian Charisius/Associated Press
Flood defences along the River Elbe at Lauenberg
Christian Charisius/Associated Press

Launberg lies on the east side of the Elbe, in the state of Schleswig-Holstein. Opposite, on the west bank of the river is the village of Hohnstorf, which is in the district of Lüneburg, in Lower Saxony. The village has a population of about 3,000 people.

Currently the river level of the Elbe between these two locations stands at 948cm (09:30 11/06/13). At the end of May 2013, the level was about 550cm.

River levels are also worryingly high near the town of Hitzacker in Lower Saxony. The town of nearly 5,000 lies on the west bank of the Elbe, up river from Launberg and about 100km south east from Hamburg. Currently the river level there stands at 817cm. At the end of May 2013 it was around 370cm. Levels of the Elbe are also rising in the German towns of Rogätz, Storkau, Müggendorf, Schnackenburg, Bleckede, Hohnstorf and Artlenburg.

Germany is also expecting heavy rainfall over the next few days, which could complicate the floods situation. The worst storms are expected in southern Germany.

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