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The Record for a Half-century of Flooding Broken

Hungary Today 2023.08.09.

A fifty-one year flood record was broken on Monday on the Dráva river at Őrtilos in southwest Hungary, at the confluence of the Mura and the Dráva rivers, the National Water Directorate General told MTI. The record flood level of 1972 was broken by 493 centimeters, when the river crested 17 centimeters above the previous highest water level.

Along the Dráva, water experts have to help seven settlements that are not protected by a state protection line, as well as 31 settlements on the left bank of the river that are located beyond the loaded flood protection embankment. Preparatory work is continuing at Drávaszabolcs, where water experts are preparing to reinforce and raise the protective lines with sandbags. There, the water is expected to peak on Thursday, with water levels approaching or even reaching the record high of 596 centimeters set in 1972.

The Dráva river at Őrtilos. Photo: MTI/Katona Tibor

In the meantime, water excursions on the Dráva have been stopped with one group stuck in Barcs because of the high water level.

The cycle path is closed because a large part of it is already under water, boats are not allowed to travel from Tuesday, and the public beach in Barcs is closed. With the help of volunteers, city management staff have placed sandbags at the entrances to the beach buildings, Hello Vidék reports.

The flooding attracts disaster tourists as well, a phenomenon that was still spectacular on Tuesday: there were dozens of people taking photos of the high water level with their phones.

According to the current information, protection work continues along the Rába, Mura, Dráva, and Sajó rivers, with water experts from all over the country arriving at the locations thanks to immediate re-deployments. The water improvements of recent years are also being well tested. Water experts will have to be even more vigilant for flooding after the peaks, as the current ebbs are unusually slow.

Maize field under water along the Mura river. Photo: MTI/Katona Tibor

The Rába river is drying up at Szentgotthárd and Körmend in western Hungary, and the river will now cause flooding in open flood plains, but will not directly threaten populated areas. The flooding of fields will slow down the lower stretches.

The Mura river peaked at Letenye in western Hungary at 3 pm on Monday, with a recorded water level of 552 centimeters, which remained until 11:00 pm in the evening. This was only two centimeters lower than the highest water level ever recorded. After the peak, the river had fallen by almost 30 centimeters by midday on Tuesday.

Sandbags are needed at Murarátka in western Hungary, along the Mura river. Photo: MTI/Katona Tibor

In the village of Molnári, the Mura is causing serious flooding, reports Hirado.hu. The region’s waterworks, supplying drinking water to more than 80,000 people, was also at risk. Young people from Budapest camping nearby helped to reinforce the dam. “It was quite frightening to watch the water rising higher and higher every day. When we arrived, nothing was visible, but by the next day the whole maize and soy field was flooded and we went out to help on the first day, mostly filling and packing bags,” said one student.

It was also reported that the Sajó River in eastern Hungary peaked at Sajószentpeter on Tuesday. The water management authorities are continuing their round-the-clock monitoring and patrols in the protection sections affected by the flood warnings.

Hungary Rushes to Slovenia's Help amid Massive Floods
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Featured photo via MTI/Katona Tibor

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