Major flooding risk for parts of Europe

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A park on the banks of Lake Geneva, Switzerland, is covered entirely in ice

Flood warnings have been issued across parts of Eastern and Central Europe as the snow and ice during the severe winter begins to thaw.

The United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR) says countries bordering the Danube River are at greatest risk of flooding.

Denis McClean of UNISDR says the expected large water volume from the melting ice was likely to put the European Flood Alert System under its greatest test since widespread flooding ten years ago.

"This severe winter in which hundreds of people have died has highlighted several weaknesses in our built environment and our ability to prepare for worst-case scenarios. Vulnerable communities across Europe have been cut off from transport, schools, health facilities and electricity in many cases. The thaw is now setting in along the Danube. While thousands of people remain snowbound from Serbia to Bulgaria, there are warning signs that destructive floods will add to the loss of life and economic assets particularly in places where there is an absence of flood management infrastructure such as dams and dikes. We do need to plan better. The unpredictability of severe weather events leads to high human and financial costs. More focus on winterization planning will be a wise investment in the coming years."

Duration: 42″

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