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Právo - Czech Republic | Monday, June 3, 2013

Cost-cutting in disaster prevention expensive

The government of the Czech Republic has declared a state of emergency because of heavy flooding after the rainfall of recent days. Although the country has learned from the flood disasters of 1997 and 2002, the cuts in the budget for emergency services are a risky measure, the left-leaning daily Právo warns: "It's difficult to say how the current flood disaster will pan out. But regardless of the outcome there are weak points that could cause us problems in similar situations. The top priority is the money for the fire department, the backbone of the entire emergency system. In 2008 it had a budget of 8.4 billion koruna [327 million euros], but this year it's just 6.6 billion koruna and it's set to go down by another 500 million next year. Even worse are the figures for investments in the fire department. But the country's entire emergency service system depends on the fire department. ... In the end the costs will be considerably lower than those for the damage caused by the water."

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