Ogre faces receding flood aftermath

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Water levels in the flooded Urga river have fallen slightly overnight to Thursday, Ogre district council chairman Arturs Mangulis told Latvian Television news program Panorama.

“The situation has improved, floodwaters are down 8 centimeters and falling. But we’re concerned about the drizzle that’s started up again. I urge all to be cautious,” the local government leader said.

Five pumping works have been mobilized from the local government and Fire and Rescue Service (VUGD) to move the water out of its overflown banks of the Ogre river tributary.

Those few residents who declined evacuation services are reported to be still safe at home, though physically stranded. However, ten persons and three dogs were taken to safety in boats while the waters have flooded their homes with up to 30cm of standing water. The VUGD also tweeted that twelve hens had also been rescued.

Altogether about 150 homes and yards have been flooded, reported LETA.

The town of Ogre is hardly the only affected area in the district. Also in Suntazi Wednesday, floods caused losses up to €100,000 to the village infrastructure when it pulled in a bridge-dam and released floodwaters into surrounding parkland, homes and yards.

Ogre district council’s executive director Peteris Spakovskis was not optimistic about prospects, hinting that water levels in local rivers may remain dangerously high for the foreseeable future.

“We have no recommendation to residents at this time. To say we are unprepared for this situation would be an understatement. This is the first time Ogre has faced such widespread problems… Practically all bridges are out, the roads are washed away. We have no scenario for this, besides just taking immediate action,” he said.

Speaking on Panorama Thursday morning, Agriculture Minister Janis Duklavs warned that long-overdue improvement-works on clearing the overgrown banks of the Urga and its debris-laden riverbed could not commence without the proper regulatory preparations, which could take months to organize.

However, weekend forecasts are calling for the chance of more intense heavy rain over the weekend, beginning Sunday.

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