The Elbe in Magdeburg, Germany

As I mentioned in a previous post, the German cities of Dresden, Halle and Bitterfeld were all expecting the worst over the last few days as the levels of the River Elbe rose dramatically. Fortunately the horrific flooding seen in other parts of Germany wasn’t repeated here. However, flooding fears remain elsewhere in Germany, and the city of Magdeburg, the capital of the state of Saxony-Anhalt, appears to be the next German city to come under threat of flooding.

Magdeburg, with around 250,000 inhabitants, stands on the river Elbe. German officials urged around 15,000 residents to leave their homes near the east banks of the river Elbe, which were considered to be most risk. Another 8,000 residents of the city were also told to leave their homes for safety reasons. The city of Magdeburg set up emergency shelters for citizens who have been forced to leave their homes. A power installation suffered damage, leaving 1,000s of homes without electricity, and in particular, without power to run water pumps.

River levels in the city appear to have peaked yesterday, around midday, standing at 745cm. The level has since dropped and stood at 714cm earlier today 10/06/13. In mid May this year, levels stood at around 250cm. In the terrible floods of 2002, the Elbe levels stood at 6.72 metres.

There are over 1,000 emergency workers in the area, helping with evacuations and building up flood defences. However, although the river appears to have crested, the huge pressure placed on levees and dams in the areas was cause for concern.

A spokesman for the local Feuerwehr (fire department) said:

“We hope that the dykes will withstand the pressure over the coming days, but we can’t be 100 percent sure,”

Further south (and upriver) from Magdeburg, a dam or the Elbe burst near the town of Aken, which lies on the left bank of the Elbe. Around 8,000 people were evacuated. The village of Schönebeck, around 15 km south of Magdeburg, is almost completely under water.

Schönebeck, Germany - The River Elbe Floods June 2013
Schönebeck, Germany – The River Elbe Floods June 2013

Meanwhile further north, a dyke near the village of Fishbeck in Saxony-Anhalt (near the village of Tangermünde which I wrote about earlier) was breached, leaving the village completely under water. The flood also disrupted rail services.

Sources: AFP