- Title: HUNGARY: TOWNSFOLK PREPARE FOR FLOODS AS RIVER DANUBE CONTINUES TO RISE
- Date: 19th August 2002
- Summary: (U4) SZENTENDRE, NORTHERN HUNGARY (AUGUST 18, 2002) (REUTERS) 1. SLV TRUCKS BRINGING SAND, PEOPLE FILLING SANDBAGS AND PILING THEM UP; MV TRUCK UNLOADING SAND; SLV SANDBAG WALL WITH FLOODED DANUBE IN THE BACK (6 SHOTS) 0.41 2. (SOUNDBITE) (Hungarian) UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN RESIDENT SAYING "I am very worried about Szentendre. I've lived here since 1959. I love this town. We already had a flood in 1965. I really hope we will get through this without big damage." 1.01 3. (SOUNDBITE) (Hungarian) UNIDENTIFIED SZENTENDRE RESIDENT SAYING "The situation is quite critical. The water is very high and the main road has already been closed. " 1.09 4. MV PEOPLE FILLING SANDBAGS; SLV TRUCKS UNLOADING MORE SAND 1.20 (U4) BUDAPEST, HUNGARY (AUGUST 18, 2002) (REUTERS) 5. SLV FLOODED BANKS OF DANUBE IN CENTRAL BUDAPEST; SLV SIGN POSTS STICKING OUT OF WATER; SLV MAN ON BOAT IN FLOODED RIVER (3 SHOTS) 1.38 6. MV MAYOR OF BUDAPEST GABOR DEMSZKY INSPECTING FLOODING ON MARGARET ISLAND; MV MAYOR ON BOAT LOOKING AT FLOODED EMBANKMENT (6 SHOTS) 2.27 7. SOUNDBITE (English) MAYOR OF BUDAPEST, GABOT DEMSZKI SAYING "Tonight it (The Danube) will reach the highest level and it will take about twenty hours until this very high water goes down. So, we shall have a very difficult day tomorrow and maybe also after tomorrow." 2.46 8. LV TILT DOWN BUDAPEST BUILDINGS ALONG DANUBE CENTRE ONTO FLOODED RIVER 2.52 Initials Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
- Embargoed: 3rd September 2002 13:00
- Location: SZENTENDRE AND BUDAPEST, HUNGARY
- Reuters ID: LVA7YMUNI28PQPMR4JI686M8H9II
- Story Text: Nervous townsfolk were piling up sandbags to protect
their homes in the picturesque tourist town of Szentendre as
water in the Danube rose rapidly in Hungary on Sunday.
The wave of flooding on the river, one of Europe's main
waterways, reached Hungary this weekend and was expected to
peak at around 8.75 metres (28 ft 8 in) or even higher, at the
capital Budapest on Sunday night.
The highest level of the Danube was measured in the
Hungarian capital in 1965 and reached 8.45 metres.
At 0800 GMT on Sunday the river stood at 8.37 metres.
Authorities are confident that defences will be strong enough
to prevent major flood damage all along the river, but
residents of Szentendre in Northern Hungary are concerned as
they say they have never seen such high waters before.
"The situation is quite critical as water is really high,"
said a woman whose house is built in the flood plain of the
river. Another resident, who has been living in Szentendre
since 1959, said she was really worried although she already
witnessed the flood in Szentendre in 1965.
"I really hope we will get through this without big
damage," she said.
Majority of the houses built in this flood plain of the
river are without insurance.
More than 20,000 people, including soldiers, are
strengthening flood defences along the upper stretch of the
river and in Budapest where one of the most critical spots is
Margaret island, a popular recreational place with hotels and
sports fields, which had to be surrounded by a 5.5-km (3.5-mile) temporary dyke and was closed off to visitors on Sunday.
Budapest mayor, Gabor Demszky is confident his city will
escape a major disaster but said a lasting flood would expose
the dykes and riverbanks to extraordinary pressure.
"It will take about 20 hours until this very high water
goes down. So, we shall have a very difficult day tomorrow and
maybe also after tomorrow," he said.
He also called on the government to cancel the traditional
fireworks planned for August 20, a national holiday when
Hungarians celebrate the foundation of their state.
He said the money should instead be transferred to those
who had suffered due to the floods.
Hungary's Prime Minister Peter Medgyessy has returned from
holiday and the government will hold an extraordinary meeting
on Sunday afternoon to assess the situation and expected
So far, 1,700 people had been evacuated from houses in the
flood plains and more evacuations may become necessary.
Embankment roads have already been engulfed and a main
tram line also had to be closed, causing traffic jams as
Hungary hosts a Formula One motor racing Grand Prix this
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