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Sunday, May 19, 2024

Latvia. Flood. The highest level in Daugava for 40 years. Concrete dam at risk

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Water levels in the Daugava, a river that flows through the Latvian city of Jekabpils, remain “critically high” and at their highest level in several decades. “Only a concrete dam holds back the water,” said Raivis Ragainis, mayor of the city of 21,000.

The hydrological situation in the city of Jekabpils is stable but still dangerous, Latvian authorities said on Sunday. The water level in the Daugava River has dropped compared to the previous days – when local authorities ordered the evacuation of some residents due to flooding – but it remains critically high. It is 30 centimeters above the level considered dangerous.

The day before, on Saturday at 9 o’clock, the Daugava state reached 8.92 meters above the zero level on the water gauge, the Latvian Center for Environment, Geology and Meteorology reported. More was recorded only in 1981, it was 8.97 m above the zero level.

Flooded areas near DaugavaReuters

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Threatened dam on Daugava

The difficult situation is related to the mass of ice that moves downstream, raises the water level and presses against the concrete dam. Mayor Raivis Ragainis expressed concern that the dam would burst and ice would enter the city. “It will be a wave that will go over like a bulldozer and sweep everything away,” he worried.

Flooded areas near DaugavaReuters

Rescue services and the Latvian National Guard were deployed to help pump water out of the flooded areas and to reinforce the dikes with sandbags. “Only a concrete dam holds back that water,” the mayor admitted.

Flooded areas near DaugavaReuters

“Water leaks through the dam in places, but the most important thing is that the dam has not been washed away,” Raivis Ragaini said on Saturday.

High water level in the Daugava river in LatviaPAP/EPA/VALDA KALNINA

“This is a very worrying situation,” local entrepreneur Martins Lauva, who returned to the city after being evacuated to encourage the rest of his family to move to a safer place, told reporters.

High water level in the Daugava river in LatviaPAP/EPA/VALDA KALNINA

Saved by rescuers

The State Fire and Rescue Service (VUGD) reported that it rescued five people from a flooded house on Mežrūpnieki Street in Jekabpils on the night of Friday to Saturday.

Two more people evacuated on their own. Residents are asked to stay away from flooded areas for their own safety and not to interfere with the increasingly exhausting efforts of flood relief services.

Authorities and firefighters protect areas from flooding in the city of YekabpilsPAP/EPA/VALDA KALNINA

Reuters, eng.lsm.lv, tvnmeteo.pl

Main photo source: Reuters

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