Hungarian Jewish group sends volunteers to prepare for floods

(JTA) — Dozens of volunteers from Hungarian Jewish communities arrived in Budapest to help prepare for floods in and around the city.

A delegation of about 50 people from the Federation of Jewish Communities in Hungary, or Mazsihisz, participated in preparation work Thursday along the banks of the Danube River outside Budapest, according to Gyorgy Gador, a spokesperson for Mazsihisz.

Gador said the Mazsihisz contingent began working on Wednesday.

None of Budapest’s Jewish buildings appear to be in any danger, Gador told JTA. “There are some Jewish cemeteries that are at risk of being flooded but our analysis shows the Jewish buildings will remain dry,” he said.

The French news agency AFP reported Friday that thousands of Hungarians feverishly worked through the night reinforcing dykes along the banks of the swelling river, as Budapest braced for what is expected to be a record flood surge.

Europe’s worst river floods in over a decade have already wrought devastation in parts of Austria, Germany and the Czech Republic. In Hungary, the Danube had risen to record levels in the west of the country by Friday morning.

The floods have killed at least 12 people across central Europe and have forced mass evacuations.

Budapest was expected to be worst hit on Monday, with forecasters predicting the river will rise to as high as 8.85 yards, some 10 inches higher than the last record set in 2006.

In the Czech Republic, flood preparations forced the Prague Jewish Museum to close its doors on Sunday. It reopened the next day.

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