Countries in central Europe have been hit by severe flooding this week. Extreme rainfall has caused rivers across the region to break their banks, with the Danube and Elbe particularly affected. People living in affected regions in Austria, Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary and Slovakia have been evacuated from their homes. 13 people are known to have died.
Single weather events like these floods can’t be statistically associated with climate change. But, the impact of climate change means that extreme weather, including heavy rain and flooding, will become more frequent. According to Eva Glawischnig, federal spokesperson for Die Grünen, the Austrian Green party, this means building solid protections against flooding must be a priority. “The Environment Minister has cut the budgets committed to flood protection. Climate change should not be a side issue, but be actively pursued, along with flood protection. Looking at economic and environmental interests separately is not useful."
You can read more about the floods in Austria, and how you can help, on the Die Grünen website.
In Hungary, LMP co-presidents Bernadett Szél and András Schiffer, LMP parliamentarians, members of the party leadership, party members and sympathizers have taken part in rescue operations in areas affected by the flood. “The country has proven its ability to listen to each other,” said LMP in a statement on their website. “The flood can only be satisfactorily addressed if we are able to behave as a community.”
They have asked all supporters to check with the local disaster management area for details on how they can support efforts.
In Czech Republic, Strana zelených have drawn parallels between the current flooding, and flooding that affected Prague in 2002. Since then, over €4bn has been spent on improving flood protection in the city. But, say Zeleni, “flood protection only works when used in time.” The current floods have affected the city quite badly. Zeleni are working to support people affected.
You can read more about their reaction to the floods, here.
In Germany, where people living in towns and villages along the Elbe, Danube and other rivers are facing their third flood since 2000, the Green party Bündnis 90/Die Grünen have called for better flood protection. They want to see a combination of technical protection, including dykes and drainage, as well as ecological protection, such as meadows, forests and marshes.