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Czech Republic/Poland: EU Approves Flood Relief

Prague, 24 July 1997 (RFE/RL) - The European Commission said today it has approved some $2 million in flood relief for Poland and the Czech Republic. Of the monies, some $1.5 million is to go to Warsaw and the rest to Prague.

Dikes along the Oder in Poland and Germany are reported holding today as a surge of highwater from weekend rains continues down the river.

Flood officials in the southern Polish city of Opole said dikes there are containing the swollen river. Downstream in eastern Germany, workers are continuing to reinforce embankments safeguarding the city of Frankfurt an der Oder.

Meanwhile, floodwaters continue to recede in most parts of the Czech Republic. Over 100 people have died in the Czech Republic and Poland in flooding this month. Prague has estimated its recovery costs as reaching $3 billion. Polish estimates range from $1 billion to twice that.

In Poland, the largest opposition group, Soidarity Election Alliance (AWS), today proposed that the government issue special bonds to raise funds for flooded areas.

The plan, prepared by AWS experts, would generate funds that could be invested in flooded areas and also used to repay emergency loans taken by the government for flood relief purposes. Under the plan, part of the cost of the bonds could be deducted from personal income taxes.

AWS deputy head Janusz Tomaszewski said the Alliance hoped the government would consider the plan. Flooding this past month killed 55 people in Poland and damaged many roads, bridges and buildings. Flood amages are estimated to be in the thousands of millions of dollars.