Safety concerns around possible flooding near Daugava river

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 The waters of the Daugava river continue to rise and flood areas in the area of Augšdaugava, where a rapid increase in water levels in rivers poses a threat to the safety of people, the environment, and economic activity, as well as the local government infrastructure, the municipality council has stated, Latvian Radio reported on March 31.

Water level in Daugavpils is already close to the 7-meter mark. This is not yet a danger for the city, but there is a “yellow” alert degree in Daugavpils. The “orange” alert shall be issued when the Daugava level in Daugavpils rises to 7.46 meters above the measuring station  zero. The most serious, “red” alert is announced in Daugavpils if the Daugava level rises to the 9.3 meter mark.

In the municipality of Augšdaugava, however, the situation is more serious, an orange alert has already been issued from Nīcgale to Jersika. Hundreds of hectares of land have come under water, dozens of households have flooded or surrounded by water, and several roads have been flooded. Similar floods were last experienced 10 years ago, in 2013, when the government announced an emergency in the area.

Also this time, the municipal council of Augšdaugava has asked the government to announce a state of emergency in at least eight parishes on both sides of the Daugava. The announcement of an emergency would, if necessary, allow for the forced evacuation of the population, provision of property guards, as well as the possibility of requesting State compensation for the elimination of the effects of the floods.

Arvīds Kucins, Chair of the municipal council of Augšdaugava, said: "State roads are flooded, our roads are flooded, houses are secluded, we do not know how to take pupils to schools. [People] can't leave. Many things cannot be done by the municipality, if anything happens [..] until the emergency has been announced.  [..] So far, no residents have asked for help. We have concerns that people may suffer because it looks like water levels will rise for a while still."

Water levels in Daugava can indeed continue to rise, according to the forecasts by hydrologists.

The Daugava Basin in Belarus currently has a snow layer of about 20 centimeters, some will melt this week, with strong rainfall – rain and snow – expected by the end of this week and next week.

This means that water levels will continue to rise in Daugava this week. Increasing water levels may disrupt electricity and water supply, and telecommunications. Evacuation is likely to be needed.

According to forecasts, a tense situation with the floods may continue until at least April 5.

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