Jēkabpils dam struggles to hold back waters; city evacuates some residents due to flood

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Jēkabpils municipality is preparing for a mass evacuation. The municipality's flood coordinator Tālis Zaula said the water level in the Daugava on Friday exceeds the record set more than 40 years ago, Latvian Radio reported January 13.

On Friday at 4:50 water level in Daugava at Jekabpils reached 8.14 meters above the zero point of the observation station, according to the operational information of the Latvian Environment, Geology and Meteorology Center.

The previous highest mark was 7.79 meters Thursday morning; in the middle of the day, water levels declined by half a meter, but later resumed gradually rising.

Zaula said that the water level in Daugava on Friday exceeds the record reached more than 40 years ago.

Representatives of the municipality have indicated that the dam protects up to approximately nine meters of water from major floods in the city. The dam started to give in on Friday afternoon but it is being fixed right away. Evacuation has been announced in one neighborhood. 

"Unfortunately, our old dear dam, which has protected us from potential floods for years, showed this time that it is not so durable. The rescue of the dam is currently underway, so the evacuation of the population from one in the suburbs, from the Orthodox monastery to the city bus park, has been announced.

"This neighborhood is currently under threat because there is significant damage to the dam, which can at any time turn into a serious stream of water. We're doing the rest of it. Local government police, national guardsmen all performed their jobs. The responsible services are working constantly, all the time," said Jēkabpils Mayor Raivis Ragainis.

Several schools have been closed as of Friday, some public transport is not en route, and traffic limits are in place.

The State Fire and Rescue Service said on social media that residents should be prepared to evacuate and try to save as much property as possible by moving items to upper floors and packing an evacuation bag with personal documents, daily-use medicines, phone and money. When leaving the house, electricity, gas and heating must be disconnected. 

If the situation becomes critical, the VUGD will set off emergency sirens.

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Those who need evacuation will be picked up by "Evacuation buses" on Auseklīša Street 4a, Zemgales Street by the Catholic Church, Brīvības Street 289B, Rīgas Street 120, and Kazarmu Street square.


Water levels continue to fall slowly at the Zeļķu bridge and Daugava, and the situation in Pļaviņas has not changed.

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