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Danube River Expected To Bring Further Havoc in Eastern Romanian Counties

Autor: Laura Toma 06 Apr 2006 - 00:00
Danube River Expected To Bring Further Havoc in Eastern Romanian Counties

The Danube rose in the past week to triple levels halting the activity in the Damen Shipyard in Galati city.
The tributaries Siret and Prut contributed too, and now the shipyard pays 7,500 euros per day in penalties to their French, Dutch or British clients as work stopped when the Danube reached six meters deep, equal to the alert level and the one the shipyard was built.

Adding to the problem is the fact that the dams built on either side of the River Danube narrow its bed.
The management of the Damen Shipyard is afraid its 100 million euros revenues recorded last year will not be matched this year, but more importantly, that it will lose its faithful clients, namely the Dutch and the British army.
So, breaking the dam downstream, towards Tulcea County, would bring a welcome relief to the shipyard, its management believes.

"This should have been a measure to be taken within 24 hours, but one week had passed with no response from the Government to our letter," said Gelu Stan, director of Damen Galati Shipyard.
"Strangulating the river flow between the two dams is the cause of our problems," adds he.

Built in the early ‘80s, the dams allowed reclaiming some 20,000 hectares of wet-land for agriculture. But the phreatic waters kept rising and the dwellings in the nearby district of Galati were destroyed and thousands of people had to be relocated. That lesson was lost on the shipyard’s management when it decided to locate it in the same place.
Breaking the dam towards Tulcea would flood the 20,000 hectares, now left unattended for, and sour the relationships between the two counties.
Mihai Capra, permanent representative of the Government in Galati city said flooding the former wet land would be the natural thing to do, but not so think 1,500 dwellers of I.C. Bratianu village, in Tulcea County, where four houses are flooded for the past two weeks.
"It is sheer utopia to break the dam," says Viorel Chirita, the mayor of I.C. Bratianu.

A short distance from the Damen Shipyard hundreds of people are angling.
"This is what we do when the waters are rising. Last year we had a good catch, so we hope for the same this year," said one of them.

Tons of debris blocked the river traffic, and a small excavator was trying yesterday to clear the passage way, without much success.

The high Danube levels are pushing back the waters of its tributary Siret, flooding the temporary shelters of the vegetable growers and their gardens. Some 30 such shelters were swept away in the villages of Sendreni and Barbosi.

The Prut, the other major tributary of the Danube went up nine centimeters, but one of the causes may be the managed overflow of the lake behind the Stanca Costesti dam.

The major spill of the Danube is expected to occur in five days. By then the blade-rollers hope to still enjoy the pavement on the river banks, and for the prefects of the two counties to settle their dispute.

Translated by ANCA PADURARU
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