Tourist hotspot Prague hit by floods

June 4, 2013: Flood barriers in Prague Photo credit: Edita Zvoníčková / Metro.cz
Flood barriers have been set up to protect Prague.
Credit: Edita Zvoníčková/Metro.cz

Prague is on emergency alert after the Vltava River rose to dangerous levels, leaving parts of the city flooded.

The city’s metro underground stations have been forced to close while many historical sights, including the Charles Bridge, have been cut off as a precaution.

One Polish couple, visiting the Czech capital with their child, told Metro of their disappointment: “We went yesterday to see the bridge, but just before we came they closed it. We tried the following afternoon, but without success.”

The waters of the swollen Vltava River are understood to have peaked. However, in Smichov, a neighborhood just south of Prague Castle, workers were handing out leaflets in preparation for evacuating people from the area.

Meanwhile, areas to the south and north of Prague have been submerged, including the city’s zoo and a racing track, in the worst flooding in a decade, Reuters reports.

Local authorities have been making efforts to inform tourists of the current weather situation, as waters are beginning to recede. “We are calling all travel agencies to report on the current status, to reassure people that the whole of the country is not underwater,” says Catherine Petrikov of the Association of Czech Travel Agencies.

In the city center, some hotels have confirmed a 40% cancellation in bookings while others say tour groups have postponed their stays for a month. However, spokesman of hotel chain CPI Jan Burian reported, “Tourists are not leaving Prague prematurely.”

The flooding, which also has affected parts of Germany, Slovakia and Hungary, has reportedly caused 11 deaths so far. In Germany, around 10,000 people have been evacuated from their homes in low-lying areas of Saxony.



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