Floods across central Europe continue to devastate parts of Germany, Austria, Switzerland and the Czech Republic.
Cities in southern and eastern Germany are on high alert as heavy floodwaters swell rivers. Passau is one of the worst-hit cities in the country, with water levels the highest they have been in 70 years. Dresden is preparing for water levels 5m higher than normal.
The last time central Europe saw similar floods was in 2002, when 17 people were killed in the Czech Republic, and damage estimated at $26bn was inflicted.
Caritas Czech Republic is using a network of nearly 350 Caritas local organisations, plus the capacities of existing social services and the experienced gained during floods in 1997 and 2002.
For example, in North Bohemia, local Caritas staff members in Litomerice have found shelter for 160 people evacuated from Kralupy nad Vltavou.
Caritas Czech has already released 2.62 million Czech crowns (around 100 000 EURO) from their own resources for immediate assistance to those affected by floods.
Coordination centres are now working in Ceske Budejovice, Litomerice, Pilsen and Prague. For those affected by the floods, a nonstop crisis phone line is provided: 737 234 078 and the website: http://povodne.charita.cz/(in Czech).
In Austria too, especially in Tyrol, Salzburg, Upper and Lower Austria, hundreds of people had to be evacuated, houses were destroyed, and basements flooded.
“From this moment on the Caritas disaster relief fund is available for emergency aid. Additional to financial temporary measures, the people will also need human support and accompanying assistance during bureaucratic procedures,“ said Franz Küberl, Caritas Austria President.
“As soon as the water has hopefully regressed, it will be necessary to assist the people. They will long for comfort for all the things that have been destroyed and which cannot be repaired or bought back with money,” he said.
For more information on contacts and drop-in centres see: www.caritas.at
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