A few days of heavy prolonged rains are slowly bringing about a catastrophe. The most affected regions of Bruntál, Jeseník, Šumperk and Vsetín have run out of all means of bringing the disaster under control and the army is sent to intervene. In the meantime, people in Olomouc expect no evil doings, they are just getting angry when the phone lines and TV signal break down at intervals. It keeps raining...
The ultimate flood emergency has been imposed in the whole of the Morava river basin. The Flood Committee has called a meeting. Confusion on the roads is gradually increasing, a car journey to Ostrava has now become a nightmare with numerous traffic jams on the way. Meanwhile the railway lines are doing no better, the Bečva river in Přerov has left its bed to start running over a railway bridge so that train arrivals at Přerov station had to be withheld. The Morava has overflown Litovel and Přerov. High water starts to eradicate the village of Troubky west of Přerov from the face of the earth. At 7 pm sharp the Central Flood Committee with its headquarters in Olomouc takes over the supervision of life and property rescue.
The huge water mass is making its way for Olomouc. The neighbouring villages of Chomoutov and Horka-on-the-Morava (now better known as Horka-under-the-Morava) together with the town boroughs of Černovír and Novosady are at present struggling in effort to resemble Venice. The City Flood Committee appeals to the inhabitants that they should leave their homes as soon as possible. Just before midnight the trams are diverted to a recently built line in the Kosmonautů street and the river surface is now only half a metre below the level of the bridge in the Masarykova street. Most people cannot imagine what will come in a couple of hours.
At about 1.30 am electricity is cut off throughout the city. The Morava has now overflown its banks right next to the historical centre. This morning’s awakening is mingled with a great surprise for most of the inhabitants. The Mlýnský potok, yesterday just a little brook, forms a continuous riverflow with the Morava, splitting the city into two individual parts. The most essential movement of people between the two new "boroughs" is carried out by the fire squad trucks. The football and hockey stadiums and the swimming pool are all under water.
The Flood Committee must be evacuated from a strategic spot between the two rivers to the Military Headquarters building. However, only a short time of this asylum proves this transfer has only been going from the bad to the worse, so the Committee has to move once again, this time to the highest point of the city - the Neředín airport. The immediate touch with the flood is lost here but at this moment nothing seems to compare to a piece of dry land.
Olomouc is cut off from all directions with the exception of Prostějov. At least 90% of people are convinced that they have to go somewhere else than Prostějov. Their chances of escaping are in most cases lost at road checkpoints placed at the edge of the city.
The city is still without electricity, in some areas people are missing drinkable water and gas. Nearly all shops are closed. Streets are occupied by temporary counters with people selling primary needs for survival, candles, sometimes batteries which have most frequently been used before. The sieged inhabitants listen to the improvised news broadcasting of the Czech State Radio in Olomouc, other sources of information include the rescuers delivering humanitarian help by boats and people delivering rumours. The top makebeliefs of the day are the following: 1. "There has been a leakage of a huge amount of unspecified dangerous chemicals from the Farmak plant", 2. "The bridge crossing the Morava near the Bristol pub has been loaded with explosives and blown up", 3. "Basic food articles are being sold for astronomical prices". (Actually, some human hyena was said to be found practising the latter, but this piece of information was proved to be just another rumour.)
Christian Charity issues the first volume of an information leaflet focusing on the floods. The city receives offers of material and financial help.
The City Mayor Mr. Kosatík thinks that nobody really needs his help in Olomouc and leaves for a holiday in Greece with his wife.
The flood has started to retreat gradually, revealing the doom it has left behind.
High water is now leaving the city altogether and the inhabitants are recovering from one of their worst life experience. Although the boroughs of Černovír, Lazce and Novosady are still partially suffering from the flood, the people living there are already busy repairing the damage caused by the disaster. Bridges crossing the Morava near the Bristol pub and in the Masarykova street can once again be crossed with no problem. Homes that stayed out of the flooded area can now enjoy the benefits of electricity at irregular intervals. City buses and trams have partially recovered their schedules.
Helped by perpetual pumping, water is slowly flowing out from the worst flooded parts of Černovír, Lazce and Novosady. The biggest fear at the moment concerns envisaged spread of infectional diseases. The flood has brought with it masses of rubbish including animal corpses, sewage dump and many other unpleasant items. People are in danger of epidemies of jaundice, salmonellis and skin diseases. Temporal lodging for those who have lost their homes appears to be a part of general housing problem and an easy solution doesn’t seem to be at hand. Help comes from towns and villages which have only seen the flood on TV.
Mayor Kosatík is back from Greece claiming that he has been accompanying his sick wife. There is a widespread disbelief in his explanation based on several reasons:
Life in Olomouc is slowly recovering. Electricity is on with minor cut-offs, phone lines are working, some homes have hot water, public transport has been renewed almost completely. People are doggedly removing the damage.
Starting from tomorrow, photo developers will have plenty of work. Was the comet to blame?
(c) Redigy 1997