New dike breach on the elbe

New dike breach on the elbe

Further north in brandenburg, lower saxony and schleswig-holstein, helpers hoped to bandage the elbe flood with masses of sandbags. After a bridge closure there were serious delays in ICE traffic. Chancellor angela merkel (CDU) again assured the flood victims of support during a visit to the river elbe in wittenberge.

Flood damage throughout germany is now estimated to be in the tens of billions of dollars. A meeting of the 16 minister presidents with chancellor merkel, which had been planned anyway, is to be expanded this thursday to include talks on flood aid.

The sodden, broken dike in the district of stendal in saxony-anhalt was breached around midnight over a length of about 50 meters. 1000 cubic meters of water per second shot into the shallows and are now flooding the region. Around 3,000 people had to seek safety, further evacuations were planned.

Early monday morning, authorities closed a railroad bridge over the elbe near stendal for safety reasons. As a result, long-distance trains from frankfurt/main and hanover to berlin had to switch to other routes. The end of the closure remained unclear.

Saxony-anhalt interior minister holger stahlknecht (CDU) said the federal armed forces were moving more forces to the region. In hohengohren near stendal, too, the situation remained critical because an elbe dike slipped for 30 meters. Helpers tried to hold him.

In magdeburg, the situation eased somewhat – with levels falling slightly. The substation, long threatened by water, was no longer in danger. However, the peak wave of the flood was very long and was allowed to continue dangerously printing on the levees for several more days.

On the border between saxony-anhalt and brandenburg, polders have been filling up since sunday to alleviate the flood situation. In the vicinity of wittenberge in brandenburg, this has already had an effect. The water level dropped a few centimeters at times. The peak of the flood wave was not expected there until tuesday afternoon.

Brandenburg’s minister president matthias platzeck (SPD) emphasized at his meeting with merkel in wittenberge: "i think we got off lightly."Merkel explained that she knows the damage will run into the billions. Exactly how high they will be has not yet been determined.

At least, according to forecasts by the german weather service, there is no threat of more severe new precipitation in the next few days. There should be stable summer weather.

Evacuations also underway in schleswig-holstein, mecklenburg-vorpommern and lower saxony. In some cases, schools are not in session because buildings are too close to the water or are needed for emergency accommodation.

Chancellor merkel had already visited flood regions in bavaria and saxony last week and pledged 100 million euros in immediate aid from the federal government.

Over the weekend, federal finance minister wolfgang schauble (CDU) ruled out tax increases to repair the flood damage in germany. FDP nevertheless expects massive increase. More to come, says top candidate rainer bruderle. But at present, no one can make a serious assessment of the rough order of things. In 2002, about six billion euros in aid had flowed in after the floods.

The opposition greens called for billions in aid and a long-term conservation plan. The damage was more severe than in the 2002 flood, but the damage has so far been far less severe than in the 2002 flood.

Federal minister of agriculture ilse aigner (CSU) did not rule out expropriation of farmers for flood protection. But this can only be considered "as a last resort," she said on monday. However, it would be better to find amicable solutions with the farmers affected.

In view of the floods, the german institute for economic research (DIW) raised the issue of compulsory insurance against natural disasters.

At least seven people killed by floods in germany so far. In the case of at least two other deaths, the connection remained unclear. Eleventh flood victim recovered dead in czech republic. Heavy rain and storms hampered cleanup efforts there.

Federal president joachim gauck, who has already seen the flood disaster in saxony and saxony-anhalt on sunday, plans to travel to the bavarian flood region on friday.

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