Wednesday 11 August 2010

Flash floods in Frýdlant

Today I was intending to post a write-up of day four of the latest leg of my cycling trip around the entire Czech border. I have been overtaken by events - tragic events.

Last weekend, catastrophic flash floods swept through the German-Polish-Czech border area - the exact same area I had cycled through in late July. At least eight people were killed. Many, many others saw their homes damaged or destroyed. In the Czech region of Liberec alone, 57 towns and villages were affected. Among the worst hit communities were Višňová, Frýdlant, Heřmanice, Bogatynia and Hřensko, to list them in the order I passed through.

The scale of the flooding is clear from the following two videos, both shot in Frýdlant on 7 August 2010. The first needs no commentary. The second shows the town’s main square. The blue corner building visible near the beginning is a coffee shop where I stopped for cappuccino and cake exactly two weeks earlier.

I have a sense of déjà vu about this, as the area I passed through on stage 1 of my trip in May this year was also badly flooded shortly afterwards.

There are so many tragedies around the world. For me, this one is closer to home than most. My next two blog posts - describing the two wonderful days I spent cycling in this charming region - will be dedicated to the victims.

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