Experience Pays Off For Flooded Europe

LARGE-SCALE evacuations left dozens of towns in eastern Netherlands virtually deserted yesterday as dikes strained to keep floods at bay.

Waters began to recede elsewhere across northwest Europe, hit by the second severe flood in 13 months, and people began thinking about the cleanup.

It's the worst flood in 40 years in the Netherlands. This year's floods across northwest Europe - including France, Belgium, Germany, and the Netherlands - claimed at least 26 lives. Property damage estimates could climb into the billions of dollars.

Authorities are working furiously to reinforce dikes weakened by flooding in the Netherlands. If the earthen ramparts burst, many towns could be under about 16 feet of water. About 250,000 Dutch have moved to shelters.

For many German homeowners, the flooding is financially devastating. Flood insurance was either impossible to obtain or prohibitively expensive in much of the affected region, especially after flooding in December 1993. The German government has already announced it will offer about $20 million in low-interest loans to flood victims.

IN Beuel, across the Rhine River from Bonn, flood victims exhibited resilience, splashing around in boots and hip waders.

The 1993 flood that inundated much of the same areas of Beuel ``came as a surprise for us all, residents and authorities,'' says Angela Steinstraesser, a volunteer who ferries victims to and from their homes in a small boat. ``This year we were better prepared.... The mood is good.''

Gunnar Grecksch, who says he had moved to Beuel after the '93 flood, was caught off-guard when the Rhine broke over its banks this year. But he says he has no plans to move.

``When the floods came I had no boots or anything. But I noticed all my neighbors simply got their boots and hip waders ... and were ready,'' he says. ``When the next flood comes, I'll be able to do the same.''

About these ads
Sponsored Content by LockerDome

We want to hear, did we miss an angle we should have covered? Should we come back to this topic? Or just give us a rating for this story. We want to hear from you.

Loading...

Loading...

Loading...

Save for later

Save
Cancel

Saved ( of items)

This item has been saved to read later from any device.
Access saved items through your user name at the top of the page.

View Saved Items

OK

Failed to save

You reached the limit of 20 saved items.
Please visit following link to manage you saved items.

View Saved Items

OK

Failed to save

You have already saved this item.

View Saved Items

OK