ERR in Latvia: Flood risk in Jekabpils still high

Latvians from all over the country are trying to help Jekabpils, with sandbags and equipment being sent and €30,000 and counting raised on the donation website for those affected by the flooding. Mobile phone connections are being restored and secured, and LMT has brought a separate base station from Riga to provide crisis support communications.

"Winter used to be winter and spring used to be spring a quarter of a century ago. Every season was present. Today, we keep wondering if it's winter or not." Jekabpils resident Aleksandrs said.

"Our house is in a high-risk area, which is obviously very concerning. I'm going to see my mother and grandmother in the hopes of convincing them to relocate to a safer location," Martins, the entrepreneur, said.

There have been efforts to fortify the dam and water and ice have not yet completely destroyed the dam. However, there is no sign of a quick improvement and drift ice continues to obstruct the water flow for up to 25 kilometers.

"Incredibly high waves - two, three and four meters. It is a snow and ice wave, not just water. It comes in like a bulldozer, sweeping everything in its path. It is an avalanche that destroys everything," Raivis Ragainis, chair of the Jekabpils municipal council, said.

Many have questioned why the nearby Plavinas hydroelectric power facility does not lower the water level by opening its locks. This is not possible at this time, according to specialists, because it would not bring relief to Jekabpils, but would exacerbate the situation even in Plavinas.

"It is not up to politicians to open or close anything. It is an engineering issue," Latvian Prime Minister Krišjanis Karinš said.

What is happening in Jekabpils is a local disaster and the government declaring a state of emergency would not help to resolve it, the prime minister confirmed after a meeting of the state crisis council. So far, local government leaders have done well.

"Our country's laws and governance are highly developed. As of today, all of our services are effective and organized. There is no need to declare a broader state of emergency to handle the situation at this time," Karinš explained.

There is still a problem with people who refuse to evacuate and attempt to live on top floors as their last resort. Some of them had to be rescued.

The police confirm that they can maintain law and order even in flooded areas where properties are standing empty.

"Since January 8, 34 individuals have had to be rescued because they refused to evacuate," Martin Baltmanis, deputy chief of the Latvian State Fire and Rescue Service, said, adding that schools and shops are now closed for three days in the risk areas.


Follow ERR News on Facebook and Twitter and never miss an update!

Editor: Kristina Kersa

Hea lugeja, näeme et kasutate vanemat brauseri versiooni või vähelevinud brauserit.

Parema ja terviklikuma kasutajakogemuse tagamiseks soovitame alla laadida uusim versioon mõnest meie toetatud brauserist: