Barges Sunk to Block Fishbeck Dyke

The broken dyke at Fishbeck, Saxony-Anhalt, Germany, resulting in the whole of the village and some of the surrounding villages being flooded. Until now the hole in the dyke has remained, and so the area remains under water.

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 over 1 week ago. Resident of around 10 neighbouring villages were also asked to evacuate.

fishbeck floods
Fishbeck, Saxony Ahnhalt, Germany. The breached dyke allows more flood waters into the area.
Bundeswehr / AP

With water from the Elbe gushing through the hole, emergency workers turned to an unusual and dramatic solution to fill the breach. On Saturday 15th June, divers inspected the dyke and the breach. Next, nets full of rocks were dropped by helicopter onto the site. Then later in the evening, two barges were sailed into the dyke where they were sunk using explosives.

Fishbeck dyke
Barges put in place to shore up the Fishbeck dyke
Jens Wolf / AFP – Getty Images
fishbeck germany
Explosives are used to sink the barges to plug the hole in the dyke
Thoms Butzek / EPA

The barges had been built specifically for this particular purpose, although such as procedure hadn’t been carried out before. It is understood that a third barge was also sunk to complete the blockage of the dyke.

Elsewhere in Germany the levels of the river Elbe appear to be subsiding further across the country. The worries now are that dykes and other flood defences hold firm until the flood water has dispersed further, alleviating pressure on levees and dykes around Germany. Some of the clean up operations have begun, including in Magdeburg, where sandbag flood walls were no being dismantled.

Sources: Stern; ABC News