As central Europe continues to cope with record flooding, our thoughts and prayers go out to the victims, their families, and those who continue to struggle with the impact of this natural disaster.
Record rainfall during the past week has led to flooding and landslides across large swaths of the Czech Republic, as well as portions of Austria, Germany, Hungary, Poland, and Slovakia. In some places, as much rain fell in two days as normally would span a two-month period, according to news reports. The flooding has claimed 10 victims thus far, and displaced thousands of people, including 8,000 people in the Czech Republic alone.
While the rainfall is expected to slow and cease by Wednesday, cleanup from the flooding will cost tens of millions of dollars, and will undoubtedly take months or years to complete. Despite the large economic ramifications, the human toll of this tragedy—lives lost and livelihoods and homes destroyed—is what makes the flooding especially sorrowful.
While many European nations are coping with floods, the Czech Republic and Germany have been especially hard hit. Water levels in Passau, a city in southeastern Germany, are the highest that have ever been recorded. For perspective, water levels were first recorded there in 1501—only nine years after Columbus reached the Western hemisphere.
The U.S. should help provide requested assistance to our important European allies, and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) should leverage its resources to assist in search and rescue efforts across central Europe.
The nations and people of Europe affected by the flooding and landslides will rebuild and emerge stronger than before. But for now, our thoughts and prayers remain resolutely with them.