Dike breaks in eastern Germany

DDP/The Local
DDP/The Local - [email protected] • 30 May, 2010 Updated Sun 30 May 2010 15:12 CEST
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The eastern state of Brandenburg remained on high flood alert on Sunday as a dike broke near the small town of Schwedt. The environmental authority said anti-flood defences were under intense pressure.

The rising Oder river continued to strain Brandenburg dikes on Sunday morning, despite suggestions that water levels had peaked. After what was described as a quiet night, a tear developed in a section of flood defences in the village of Criewen near Schwedt on the Polish border.

Two other sections of the system were described as "in danger" by the president of the state environmental authority Matthias Freude. The damage to the dike in Criewen is thought to be fairly serious, and is currently being repaired.

Freude also said that a part of an embankment had slipped near a bridge near the village of Neurüdnitz. The river bank in the area is currently being reinforced.

Freude said these incidents underlined the fact that the danger of flooding in the region remains extremely serious, even if water levels stay the same or sink slightly. There was, he said, "massive pressure on these dikes," though he said that most had proved strong enough so far.

"That really was money well-spent," he said.

According to Brandenburg's environment ministry, some €220 million has been invested in strengthening flood defences along the Oder since it broke its banks to devastating effect in 1997. Almost 90 percent of the 163 kilometres of dikes have been reinforced or rebuilt.

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