People in Hungary have been warned to prepare for their country’s worst floods ever as the Danube is set to reach record levels this weekend.
“We are facing the worst floods of all time,” said Prime Minister Viktor Orban.
Europe’s second longest river is set to hit unprecedented levels in the capital Budapest in the next few days.
A state of emergency has been declared, and thousands of volunteers worked overnight to reinforce the banks of the swelling river.
Water levels are set to reach reach 8.85 m (29 ft), some 25 cm (10 in) higher than the Danube’s previous record high in 2006.
Emergency workers have set up camps along the river as residents packed sandbags around their homes amid an atmosphere of concerned expectation.
Kristalina Georgieva, the EU Commissioner for International Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response, tweeted: “Hungary well prepared for highest ever measured water levels on Danube. We are monitoring & ready to assist.”
Budapest Danube is set to reach record levels this weekend
Viktor Orban, who spent the night at a military barracks in the flooded western city of Gyor, said recent dry weather in Austria and Germany, as well as a hot forecast for Hungary over the weekend, gave reason to hope that Europe’s worst river floods for more than a decade could soon be over.
The Danube peaked on Thursday in the Slovak capital Bratislava, where the main flood defenses held firm.
In northern Germany, workers piled sandbags along the banks of the River Elbe as waters rose, after widespread flooding further south.
As flood waters receded to the south and east, defense work continued apace near Lueneburg in Lower Saxony.
Tens of thousands of people have been evacuated from at-risk areas in Germany, where the flooding is worse than that recorded in 2002.
On Thursday the Elbe flooded parts of Dresden as it peaked nearly 7 m (22 feet) above its normal level, but the city’s historic centre remained unscathed.
Upstream along the Elbe in the Czech Republic, emergency workers used boats to shuttle supplies to stranded people as large areas remained under water.
Widespread flooding in central Europe has inundated swathes of Austria, Germany and the Czech Republic, killing at least 15 people.
Some 600 people have been evacuated in the German city of Dresden as Central Europe floodwater continues to threaten parts of southern Germany, Austria and the Czech Republic.
The level of the River Elbe in the historic German city is not expected to peak until Thursday morning.
Emergency workers have been shoring up a dyke under threat from high water in the Austrian city of Krems.
At least 12 people have died and two are missing as a result of the floods across the three countries.
Seven deaths were recorded in the Czech Republic and three in Germany, while two people were reported dead and two missing in Austria, according to a European Commission update early on Tuesday evening.
Parts of Germany have not seen such severe flooding in centuries. However, in the Czech Republic, the water level has stabilized in the capital Prague, where there had been fears of a repeat of disasters in 2002 and 1997.
Some 600 people have been evacuated in Dresden as floodwater continues to threaten parts of southern Germany, Austria and the Czech Republic
River levels rose after sudden heavy rain following a very wet spring, which had left the ground saturated and unable to absorb the extra water.
Six hundred people had to leave their homes in Dresden and electricity was turned off in some parts of the city, a city spokeswoman told the German news agency dpa.
In another eastern city, Halle, streets were under water on Wednesday morning. According to German news magazine Spiegel, it is the highest water level in the city in four centuries.
Meanwhile, the floods were receding in the south German city of Passau. People could be seen sweeping up muck from their streets.
In Krems, the Austrian authorities were making plans to evacuate villagers as a local dyke looked at risk of collapsing under the swollen Danube.
Thousands of people left their homes in the Czech Republic in recent days as floodwater threatened to overwhelm flood barriers.
In the low-lying industrial city of Usti nad Labem, the River Elbe was spilling over the 10 m-high (33 ft-high) metal flood barriers.
The peak there is expected some time on Wednesday.
The main rail link connecting Prague and Berlin in Germany has been underwater, with trains being diverted.