Posted by: Chelsea Novak | August 14, 2002


If you’re reading about the floods on CNN or the BBC, please keep in mind that these organizations like senstaional news, and as such are prone to embelish. I’m not saying they’re lying, but they are making the flood look much worse than it is. Granted, the flood = bad, millions of crowns in damage, people displaced from their homes, small sections of the city completely underwater, but most of the city, like 80%, isn’t really threatened by the flood. It’s interesting. So before you get worried, try and put it in perspective and remember that Prague is big. Moving 50,000 residents is a lot, but most of it is preventative. The city is being quite smart and erring on the side of caution and there are 1.2 million people in the city.

At the Prague Post we’ve been getting piles of phone calls from foreign media agencies. Whenever the editors play down the flood they’re apparently cut off. It seems that these agencies are only interested in the bad news.

M and I recieved a phone call this morning from his parents who’d heard on the radio ot TV that one of the streets that come onto the square we live on was flooding. This was news to us, so I trotted out to see what was up since everything was pretty much business as usual on Senovazne (even the construction guys were there). I walked to the other end of the sqare expecting to see an ominous puddle of water creeping towards my home. It get there, and the street is dry. So I think to myself “maybe the flood water is on its way” so I walk to the end of that street which feeds onto one of Prague’s bigger squares Namesti Republiky. No water, and in fact, there’s an orchestra in front of the Obecni Dum playing soothing music. Talk about classy.

To be fair, I saw some images on TV this morning of Mala Strana (lesser town) where the water was more than 2 meters deep, meaning up to the rooftops of some houses. Where it’s acutally flooded, it’s quite serious, but you have to realize that Prague is a really big city, much of it on hilltops and not around the river. It’s tragic that the oldest and most appreciated parts of the city are at risk, but you need to consider that there has been a flood like this about every 100 years, so the buildings are maybe used to it. It still blow my mind that a restaurant I was at 3 weeks ago is now completely submerged.

There were some problems at the Zoo, which was being evacuated yesterday as it’s in the flooded district of Troja. Apprently an elephant and a Hippo couldn’t be rescued and were starting to drown. They had to be shot, which is a shame. I find it strange that I’m more upset about the animals than the 7 or 8 people that have died. Very odd.

It looks like the river is going to keep getting higher for another 12 hours. We’re still not really in danger, though M’s father’s back yard is apparently looking more and more like a swimming pool every hour. He lives on the Sazava river that’s flooding as well.

Glurg to everyone



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