PRAGUE, June 6 Insured damage from the worst
floods in the Czech Republic in more than a decade could cost
7.5 billion crowns ($381.35 million), the country's insurers
said on Thursday.
The Czech Insurance Association (CAP) said its members, who
cover 98 percent of the market, had already registered 10,000
claims, but that number could rise to 96,000, according to early
Around 19,000 people have been evacuated in the Czech
Republic and tens of thousands more in neighbouring central
European countries in the region's worst flooding since 2002. A
dozen people have been reported killed in the region.
Water levels were falling on all Czech rivers on Thursday,
the fifth day of flooding, but the surge of water along the Elbe
river was still making its way north into Germany.
To the south, parts of Austria were flooded while the Danube
was expected to crest in Slovakia on Thursday.
The Czech government has freed up 5.3 billion crowns for
flood repairs. Finance Minister Miroslav Kalousek said on Czech
Television on Thursday that he was also preparing plans to give
some affected businesses tax breaks.
Spolana, a chemical factory in Neratovice, north of Prague,
was inundated, and another chemical plant north of Prague,
Lovochemie, was also affected.
The Agrarian Chamber said that 80,000 hectares out of 4.3
million hectares of farmland -- mostly grain fields but also
some sugar beet and hop-growing areas -- were under water.
The country's dominant electricity producer CEZ
was forced to shut down two power plant units on Tuesday as a
preventative measure, cutting off supplies to thousands of
The flooding this year was not as serious as record floods
that hit Prague's historic centre in 2002. In that year, damage
around central Europe was estimated at 20 billion euros ($26.17
billion). The 2002 floods cost Czech insurers 35 billion crowns.
CAP's members include the biggest insurers like Ceska
Pojistovna, which is a partial unit of Italy's Assicurazioni
Generali ; Allianz ; and Kooperativa, part of
the Vienna Insurance Group.
($1 = 19.6668 Czech crowns)
($1 = 0.7642 euros)
(Reporting by Jason Hovet, additional reporting by Robert
Mueller, editing by Jan Lopatka and Mike Collett-White)