Flooding Inundates Central and Eastern Europe; Urban Development and Climate Change Blamed

Record floods are swelling major rivers and tributaries across Central and Eastern Europe; disrupting transportation, displacing thousands of people, and causing what is estimated to be several billion dollars of damage.

"The Danube, which normally bisects Budapest as a gently rolling swath of silver, hovered at historic levels Monday, with the Hungarian capital struggling as record floods battered Central and Eastern Europe," report Melissa Eddy and Palko Karasz. 

"This year’s flooding on the Danube has already surpassed water levels measured in 2006, when all of Hungary’s major rivers swelled beyond their banks, costing about $110 million in flood defenses," note Eddy and Karasz. "In recent years, specialists have warned repeatedly of the danger and cost of the failure to develop a comprehensive flood defense system for the country."

"The national water authority declined to comment Sunday, but an assessment published on its Web site found that the decreased drainage capacity of the Hungarian flood protection system was due largely to increased building on former floodplains along rivers."

"The European Environment Agency warned Wednesday that flooding was likely to increase in Europe for several reasons, including climate change, said Hans Bruyninckx, the agency’s executive director."

“But in many cases,” he said, “flood risk is also the result of where, and how, we choose to live.”

Full Story: Danube Near Record Level as Floods Batter Europe

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