Late Sunday evening, June 9, 2013 was when the Danube crested in Budapest. We had been following the story of the flooding in Germany, Austria, Czech Republic (not the Danube there but other rivers) and had assumed it would eventually get to Hungary – and it did!
The Government called on citizens to volunteer to sandbag all along the Danube – and the citizens responded very well. Some of the YSA commented it was refreshing to have politics put aside and everyone working together…
Volunteering in Hungary is a little different that what happens in America. To volunteer here, you have to fill out a form, with name, address and other important information, sign up for a two hour time slot and submit it to the proper authorities! Our Humanitarian Missionaries and our Stake Humanitarian person wanted to get a group of missionaries and others to work on Friday, but figuring out the paperwork took a while and there were so many other volunteer groups that they ended working on Saturday morning instead. Since we had Seminary and Institute Graduation from 10 AM -12:30 PM that day, most of our YSA who had been attending Institute, went to the Graduation. However, some YSA and other members helped the missionaries. Including the Humanitarian couple, the Wiggins, there were 41 members in their Helping Hands vests, 21 missionaries and 20 members from Buda, Kispest and Pest Wards.
Sister Smith and I take an hour morning walk on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. We kept an eye on the flooding situation by walking down to the Duna on several days – and she took pictures with her iPhone…
Notice where the water mark is on the stone base of Margit HId. You can see the sand bags on the Margit Island in the background. No one was allowed on the Island for a week and I am not sure if they are allowed there yet.
The Margit Hid picture taken on June 10th was a few hours after the crest went through and you can see the water mark of the crest.
Sandbags were put alongside the concrete retaining walls to make sure the water would not leak through those thick walls.
We heard that they purposely flooded one of the subways (?) along side of the Duna to relieve pressure and prevent a possible collapse of the tunnel. Then they put heavy buses and dump trucks on the road over the subway so the water pressure would not force the road up.
We have not be able to get within two blocks of the upper road adjacent to the Duna for several days.. The roads are closed with police enforcing that.
Our LDS group was assigned to sandbag the banks of a park which actually was below the level of the Duna.
Some of the missionaries commented that their arms were a bit sore the next day… Can’t imagine that passing 50 lb bags of sand had anything to do with that!
This was a 500 year event, according to the Prime Minister of Hungary, and Budapest’s defenses were good enough to prevent any serious flooding damage to most homes and businesses. Some of the other little towns along the Danube were not so fortunate. We heard that those communities that had the money built flood walls and those who did not have the money could not build them…
Szentendre (could not capture the picture but that above is the site): They were installing this flood wall when we were in Szentendre last month! Looks like it might have held the waters back…??
Calamities all over the world seem to be the norm these days. We are always grateful to see people working together to help those in need. These European floods will take months to clean up! And I am sure we have not heard the last of the flooding along the Danube as it winds its way to the Black Sea.