Local authorities in the Augšdaugava Municipality in southern Latvia have requested a state of emergency due to severe flooding along the Daugava River and tributaries since late March 2023. Flooding has also affected several regions in neighbouring Belarus.
At least 8 roads in Augšdaugava Municipality, Latvia, are underwater, leaving communities isolated and children unable to attend school. Images from Latvia’s State Fire and Rescue Service (Valsts ugunsdzēsības un glābšanas dienests – VUGD) showed dozens of buildings in residential areas have been flooded.
The Augšdaugava municipality has asked the national government to declare a state of emergency. Some evacuations were reported but exact details and numbers had not yet been released by the local authorities, as of 03 April.
Recent rainfall and melting snow in southern parts of the country and the bordering country of Belarus caused rivers in the Daugava basin to rise from late March.
Latvian Environment, Geology and Meteorology Centre (Lettisches Zentrum für Umwelt, Geologie und Meteorologie – LVĜMC) reported wide areas in the Daugava section Vaikuļani-Jersika are flooded. The lower sections of the Daugava tributaries are also flooded. As of 03 April, levels of the Daugava near Vaikuļanii stood at 6.52 metres and at near Jersikas at 7.24 metres. Flows from neighbouring Belarus are expected to increase river levels further.
In early January this year, an ice jam along the Gauja River caused flooding in Ādaži in Latvia. Local government officials said 8 people were evacuated. The State Fire and Rescue Service (VUGD) assisted in evacuating the residents by boat. Some roads were closed in the area.
A few days later, ice floes along the Daugava river caused flooding in Jēkabpils municipality, from 12 January 2023. Emergency services rescued 18 people from floods on 15 January and some areas along the river were evacuated. Evacuees were able to return home the following day. Schools were closed in the area for several days.
The Red Cross reported floods in at least 26 districts of Vitebsk, Gomel, Minsk and Mogilev regions of Belarus as of 29 March 2023, with around 400 people affected. Further flooding was likely to affect wider areas of those regions and also districts in the Grodno region.