As the flood-swollen Elbe river continued to rise dramatically and wrecked havoc along its northward surge, several thousand more residents have been evacuated in Germany from areas facing the possibility of being submerged.
A dam collapsed on Sunday close to the area where the Elbe meets its tributary, the Saale, triggered a torrent of flood waters and inundated several villages as well as the town Aken. Rescue teams used army helicopters and amphibious tanks to remove many residents from their flooded homes.
The situation in Magdeburg, state capital of Saxony Anhalt, remained critical as the flood level reached a new record of 7.48 metres, compared to the Elbe’s normal level of 2 metres and 6.7 metres peaked at the last major flooding in 2002.
City authorities ordered the evacuation of around 23,000 people from the low-lying areas on the east side of the river as a precautionary measure.
Hundreds of soldiers, rescue workers and volunteers struggled to shore up several dykes in Magdeburg in a stretch of 40km amidst mounting concern that some of them may not withstand the pressure from the swollen river for a long time.