Europe

Europe floods: Prague perspective

Image caption A restaurant is submerged in Prague. Picture: Richard Radford

Severe flooding across parts of Europe has killed nine people. Austria, Germany and the Czech Republic are all affected by rising water levels caused by heavy rains. Two months' rain has fallen in two days.

A nationwide state of emergency has been declared across the Czech Republic and 3,000 people have had to leave their homes.

Here, residents of Prague tell the BBC News website about the situation in the capital.

Roger Allen

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Media captionBBC News website reader Roger Allen sent in this video of the floods in Prague.

On Saturday night and into Sunday morning we experienced a huge thunderstorm that was so violent I initially thought it was an earthquake. It was the loudest thunder I've ever heard. The building actually shook at one point.

I live close to the Vltava river, which runs through Prague. The river flow is really intense and noisy with the rush of water.

I live on elevated ground but the metro station near me is closed, there are about seven to 10 stations closed due to the flooding.

Boats have stopped travelling on the river since the weekend due to the height of the water and the strength of the currents.

Friends of mine who live in basement apartments have been evacuated and underground shopping malls are also closed.

Despite this, people are going about their everyday lives in the normal weather, the trams still seem to be running.

It's still raining now, it's been incessant and I've had to buy a new umbrella as my old flimsy one couldn't cope with the rain.

The emergency services have been busy, there was constant noise from sirens all day and most of the night and there are piles of sand bags heaped up.

Ruairi Wilson

I am from Strathaven, Scotland, and I moved to Prague almost three years ago.

The main reason for the move was for my fiancee's work. We thought it would be a nice change to move here and to get away to nicer weather - well most of the time!

We realised on Friday evening that there may be a problem with the flooding. We were woken up throughout the night with the noise of the rain pelting our windows.

Then through Saturday and Sunday the rain was the heaviest we'd ever seen and that's saying something coming from the west of Scotland!

On Sunday morning we went for a walk down by the river, at this point the flood defences were hurriedly being erected by the fire service, especially around Mala Strana.

Image caption Ruairi Wilson took this picture of the floods in Prague

Everyone in the city is worried about a repeat of 2002 floods, so there is a tense atmosphere.

Through social media, the community has really pulled together, expats and locals alike.

People are offering to give a spare bed to strangers who have been evacuated.

Volunteers are also offering Prague zoo their hands this weekend, coming to help clear out the damaged and flooded areas of the zoo.

The response has been fantastic. The fire brigade were able to get the flood defences up just in time.

Then the army came in and helped with other areas.

From what I've witnessed, the planning that was put into place after the 2002 floods has been very effective and seems to have kept the damage down.

Unfortunately for smaller places outside the capital there were no defences in place and they seem to be worst hit.

Milena Findeis

I've just been glued to the television for three days. The metro system is closed and so are the underpasses, making travel around our city difficult.

In my district, the shops are open and the electricity is working, but I know other districts are not so fortunate.

I was here in 2002 and we are all so worried about it happening again. I was working in a hotel then and we had to evacuate all our guests.

We were a month without gas and water. I had to help clean up the hotel, which was impossible without power or clean water.

I remember the zoo being destroyed and it had to be rebuilt. Now though, most of the animals were rescued.

I think communication has been brilliant this time around and, on the whole, we have been given enough warning to get supplies in.

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