Flooding Danube threatens thousands
Tuesday, April 4, 2006
The Danube River, running from Germany to the Black Sea in Romania, is currently at 859 cm (28 ft 2 in) higher than its normal level in Budapest, Hungary. Climatologists are predicting that the river will crest as high as 865 cm (28' 5"). This places the crest higher than in 2002, when floods swept across all Europe. The Danube crested at 860 cm (28' 3") high then.
According to officials, 11,000 buildings are in danger of flood damage, and 172 hectares (475 acres) of land are currently under water. Officials also placed the country under a Level 3 Alert (on a 3 level scale).
Margit Island is completely under water, with 3500 sandbags giving it protection. The riverside is no less under water, and the underground number 2 (M2) is currently in danger of being closed since one of its stations, Battyány tér, is flooded.
According to Hungarian Water engineers, a flood of this magnitude hasn't occurred since 1838 when ice coming down the river blocked the Danube, creating a natural dam which caused the water to flood everything behind it.
General elections are on Sunday in Hungary. The election is heated with MSZP and FIDESZ in a virtual dead heat with polls rating both at 45%. Other smaller parties are voicing concern about gaining a 5% toe-hold to gain a seat in Parliament. It is not yet clear how the flood will impact the final campaign.