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Danube Watch 2 2006

Dear Readers

Credit: ICPDR/StögmüllerFloods are a way of life for many people living along the Danube and its tributaries. In Romania, the natural phenomenon of floods causes widespread disasters, and the heavy floods in 2006 emphasised the influence of social development on the landscape and led to new strategies for prevention and protection against floods.

Parts of Romania were still recovering from last year’s floods when the Danube, swollen from heavy rains and melting snow, overflowed and devastated communities in southern Romania. By April 15, water flow on the Danube at the Romanian borders was 15,800 cubic metres per second — a record not seen since 1895. The floods submerged more than 3,000 homes, leaving 16,000 homeless, and tens of thousands more at risk. There was damage to 6,080 homesteads, 64,350 hectares of arable land, 8.4 kilometres of national roads, and 597 kilometres of county and local roads.

The Romanian section of the Danube is embanked, for a total of 1,200 kilometres, including embankments for communities situated in the Danube Delta. These dykes were built between 1965 and 1970, and mainly protect agricultural lands located in the former flood plain of the Danube River. Many communities later they have been extended out into the floodplains.

Romanian authorities struggled to control the situation as fl oods swept through the floodplain, breaching the embankments and submerging the surrounding areas. Today in Romania we speak about coordinated flood risk management with all stakeholders involved. And the involvement of all countries, as outlined in the ICPDR Flood Action Programme, is critical.

The European Union and several Danube countries have offered support to Romania for damage caused by the Danube flooding. Additionally, through the ICPDR Secretariat, several international organisations provided affected villages in Romania with relief supplies to help families left homeless by the floods.

We would like to thank the ICPDR and all countries which offered their support and sent in donations. We would also like to stress the importance of the fast and concerted implementation of the ICPDR Flood Action Programme: this spring’s devastating floods underlined the importance of international cooperation. No country alone can combat floods of this dimension. ‘Danube solidarity’, celebrated again through Danube Day this year, must be put into practice.

Lucia Ana Varga, Head of the Romanian Delegation to the ICPDR and the Secretary of State for Water at the Romanian Ministry of Environment and Water Management

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Last Edit: 2006-07-13