16 January 2023

Latvia Evacuates Hundreds Due to 'Worst' Flood in Decades

International and Arabic
  • lativa

Riga, January 16 (QNA) - Latvian authorities urged residents of certain central areas to evacuate their homes in response to the worst flooding the Baltic state has seen in decades.
"It will be near impossible to get you out from among the ice cold sludge once it rushes into your homes," the mayor of the city of Jekabpils Raivis Ragainis warned.
Particularly exposed are Jekabpils and the town of Plavinas and surrounding areas, where the flow of the Daugava river has been blocked by pack ice that drifted in from Belarus.
These are the worst floods since 1981. The current water levels are just five centimeters below that year's all-time record.
A new dam was built 10 years ago as a precautionary measure, but it began to crumble Saturday under the pressure of the ice. Several excavators were deployed to strengthen the dam with fresh piles of sandbags on Sunday.
"The dam has survived so far, as we are constantly strengthening it, but the situation remains tense," the mayor said.
"There is no guarantee that it will withstand the extreme circumstances," he added.
Rescuers had deployed floating tanks -- a kind of amphibious vehicle -- to evacuate residents, though the majority had so far chosen to stay put.
In turn, the head of the military rescue operation, army captain Aleksands Cviguns, said, "Today our floating tank visiting five remote farms, evacuating people and delivering food and supplies to those who are staying." (QNA)


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