Hungary Flood Update

At the time of writing, it appears that the high levels of the Danube in Budapest – at least the central areas – are now receding. The level is currently 887cm, which marks a slight fall from last night’s high point of 891cm.

The Danube levels in central Budapest appear to have peaked on the evening of Sunday 09/06/13 at 891cm. The Mayor of Budapest, István Tarlós, told a press conference on Friday that flood protection levels stood at 930cm. There has been a huge effort to build flood defences in Budapest, including the local police and 100s of volunteers. Huge amounts of sandbags have been filled and placed along the Danube embankments in order to protect the buildings situated along the river. At various points of yesterday there were some fears that workers were running out of sand. waters levels are expected to remain high in Budapest and not recede completely for another week or more.

There were some people forced to leave their homes, but nowhere near the 55,000 anticipated by Budapest’s Mayor when he spoke last week. More than 200 people were evacuated from their homes in the worst hit areas of Budapest yesterday. Although central areas of Budapest escaped the severe flooding seen last week in parts of Germany, some areas of Budapest – outside the centre – have been badly hit. At a press conference this morning, the Hungarian Prime Minister, Viktor Orbán, said that the Római part of the city, upriver from the centre, was badly hit by flooding. Hungary is now looking at areas further down river to the capital, where record water levels are also expected.

Accoring to the Budapest Times, Viktor Orbán said:

“A lengthy stretch of the river must be defended to the south, so the key question now is the sensible deployment of resources”

The Prime minister also said on Sunday that the state of emergency will be extended.

As part of the same, joint press conference, the Budapest Mayor said;

“We have no reports of any catastrophic situation, the situation is normalising,”

One unwanted complication over the last few days has been the heavy rainfall experienced in Budapest. in fact the rainfall resulted in some minor flooding in Bem Dquare, with water levels at about 1 place for the recent rainfall to drain off.

The Danube still remains Budapest’s main attraction right now, with some people tempted to paddle or even take a swim in the river to such an extent that officials had to send out warnings to residents and tourists not to go into the river. The country’s Chief Medical Officer has issued a warning about the dangers of coming into contact with flood water.

Elsewhere in Hungary, roads and transport systems have been affected throughout the country, especially the north. Suzuki announced that the factory in Esztergom will be closed as workers cannot get to the factory due to road closures. Just north of Budapest in Szigetmonostor, at least 100 people were evacuated from their homes as the flood defences for the town broke down. Around 2,000 people were also evacuated from their home in Gyorujfalu, which lies to the north west of Budapest as it was feared the flood defences and levees there wouldn’t be able to withstand the pressure of the high water levels.

In the north west of Hungary, in Nagybajcs and Komárom, the Danube was reported to have crested over the weekend. On June 9th Tahitótfalu in Pest was suffering from extreme flooding. According to ECHO in Hungary overall:

…more than 1200 people have evacuated from 26 locations, 20 municipalities have been left without electricity, 4 towns have been partly left without water and 4 other ones partly without gas supply. More than 40 roads are closed to traffic and so is the border with Slovakia at Vámosszabadi (north-western Hungary).

Thankfully throughout all of the floods in Hungary there have been no reported deaths, injuries or people reported as missing.

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Source: Budapest Times; The Daily Hungary; ECHO