Residents are told to leave homes in flood areas
Latvia is suffering from the worst flooding in decades
Latvia is suffering from the worst floods in decades: the authorities on Sunday asked residents of the flooded areas around the cities of Jekabpils and Plavinas in the center of the country to leave their homes.
Flooded houses in Jekabpils.
“It will be almost impossible to get you out of the freezing mud once it enters your homes,” Jekabpils Mayor Raivis Ragainis warned on local radio.
Dam threatens to give way
The floods were triggered by pack ice clogging the Daugava River. Water and ice quickly flooded Jekabpils, resident Maris Kodols reported. “These are the worst floods since 1981.”
A dam built ten years ago threatened to give way on Saturday under the pressure of the ice masses. On Sunday he was reinforced with sandbags. “The dam has held up so far because we are constantly strengthening it, but the situation remains tense,” Ragainis said. “There is no guarantee that it will withstand these extreme circumstances.”
Crisis meeting in Riga
The army used amphibious vehicles to rescue people from flooded homes. “Thank God no one has drowned or been injured,” said Captain Aleksands Cviguns, who is leading the rescue operation. People who did not want to leave their homes for the time being were supplied with food supplies by the army. Prime Minister Krisjanis Karins and President Egils Levits called a crisis meeting in the capital Riga.