Lifestyle & Belief

Prague zoo evacuated amid Europe floods


Prague is famous for its bridges: this photo taken on January 24, 2011 from the Saint Vitus Cathedral shows the Charles Bridge connecting the Old Town quarter and Mala Strana or Lesser Quarter over Vltava river after a snowfall.



Tigers and lions were among the animals evacuated from Prague's zoo overnight as flooding threatened the historic Czech capital.

Storms buffeting central Europe have caused at least six fatalities and driven thousands from their homes.

The flooding disrupted river traffic from the Rhine to the Danube and forced the Czech authorities to open dams in the south of the country, releasing huge volumes of water that surged toward Prague.

The River Vltava, which flows through the capital, was expected to peak on Tuesday morning, causing the second floods in the city in 11 years.

More from GlobalPost: Central Europe braces for major flooding

Rescue workers were called in to protect the Prague subway network as well as shops and apartments near the river, which has already breached its banks.

There were reports of a seventh death in the Czech Republic and two others in neighbouring Austria, though the estimates vary. 

Parts of the Bavarian city of Passau were under water, with the German army drafted in to help reinforce flood defences in the south.

The floods were reportedly the worst since the 16th century, and much of the town was inaccessible.

Austria's capital, Vienna, was also bracing for more rainfall as the Danube rose to its highest level in a decade.