I wanted to give everyone a quick update on our situation here. I am afraid that the news is not good.
The rain continues to fall and after ten days the ground is fully saturated and the rivers are starting to over flow their banks. The Czech government has declared a state of emergency for almost the entire country as the flooding begins. Transportation is at a standstill, trains and buses have been stopped and major highways are underwater. Three people have been killed and 3,000 have been evacuated from low-lying areas and the military as been deployed. Prague’s historical districts are under threat as the Vltava river continues to rise. Charles University, where our collaborators are from, is closed with all final exams canceled. Students are helping to build barriers across the city in attempts to hold back the water.
The river in Lužnice is also rising, and the fields and some of the roads are flooded near us, but the houses seem to be on high enough ground. We are a safe distance from the river and are doing fine.
The barn swallows have been struggling for days against the weather. They can handle a rainy day or two, but after ten days their reserves have been worn down and we are really starting to see the effects. Since barn swallows hunt insects on the wing, it is nearly impossible for them to find food in the rain. We have had several nests full of dead nestlings, where the parents simply could not find enough food or provide the chicks enough warmth for them to survive. We fear many other nests with eggs have been abandoned.
We are trying to keep in good spirits, but it is hard to see the birds struggling like this. We are hoping that the rest of the nestlings and their parents can hold out until the sun returns. It looks like it might be able to break through by Wednesday.
Hopefully we have happier news to report soon,