Firefighters, soldiers and volunteers in eastern Germany toiled through the night to defend against floods that have submerged towns, villages and farmlands for the second time in 11 years.
Crews in Dresden, home to the 18th century Frauenkirche that was rebuilt after German re-unification in 1990 and which narrowly escaped serious damage in the last deluge, have evacuated more than 1,300 people from low-lying areas as the Elbe River inches closer to the 9.4-meter (31 feet) high recorded in 2002. The water stood at 8.6 meters as of 7 p.m. yesterday evening, according to German authorities.
The floods, triggered by unseasonal heavy rainfall, are part of the worst in Central Europe since 2002, when rising waters overwhelmed towns and cities in Germany, Austria, the Czech Republic and the Danube region. Tens of thousands of people have been displaced in Germany and rail, road and river traffic disrupted by the rising waters.