Record rain fall has caused rivers such as the Danube, the Elbe and the Vlatava in Eastern and Central to overflow their banks. The Danube flows through the center of Budapest, the Hungarian Capitol. The Danube is one of the longest waterways in Europe. It snakes through Budapest, Hungary to Belgrade, Serbia and Northern Bulgaria before reaching the Black Sea.
Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban said no casualties have been reported in his country, but that 7,000 soldiers and thousands of volunteers were packing sandbags on the banks of the Danube to shore up flood walls.
“The flood is now approaching Budapest, the heart of the country,” Orban said in Esztergom, some 30 miles (48 kilometers) north of Budapest. “Two decisive days are ahead of us because the danger will be where most people live and where most things of value are at risk. It is now when we have to gather all our strength.”
While no flood-related deaths or injuries have been reported in Hungary,
some 1,400 people have been evacuated from towns and villages along the Danube, including over 200 in Budapest.
Parts of the south and north ends of the Hungarian capital are already under water, but the city’s downtown area, including the parliament building and several large hotels near the river bank, are seemingly out of direct danger as flood walls were built to a height of 30.5 feet (9.30 meters).
Officials said nearly 8,000 volunteers and specialized crews in Budapest had strengthened flood walls by packing and placing one million sand bags and many are also monitoring defenses for any leaks.
At least 21 flood-related deaths have been reported in central Europe, as rivers such as the Danube, the Elbe and the Vlatava have overflowed after a week of heavy rains and caused extensive damage in central and southern Germany, the Czech Republic, Austria, Slovakia and Hungary.
In Hungary, storms threatened flood-prevention work, as the National Meteorological Institute issued warnings along the Danube River and said storms may bring more than an inch of rainfall and wind speeds of 55 miles per hour.
Water levels stabilized in Budapest and were starting to subside after peaking at about three times their normal levels on Sunday night June 9, said Mark Mate Kisdi, spokesman for the Municipal Catastrophe Authority.
Attention has turned to parts of southern Hungary that will be hit by the Danube River’s advancing floodwaters.
“Today is the day of shifting focus from the northern part of the country to the southern parts,” said Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban.
The flood wave was forecast to leave Hungary on Thursday, June 13 and the country has contacted neighboring Serbia to coordinate emergency plans, the prime minister said.