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Danube drought reveals parts of hidden World War II history


PRAHOVO: Europe’s worst drought in decades not only scorched farmland and impeded river traffic, it left parts of the region virtually forgotten. History of World War II: Dozens of German warships of World War II have appeared since Danube River when its water level has dropped.
In the middle of the mighty river that separates Serbia and Romania near the Serbian port of Prahovo, a rusted hull, a broken mast where the swastika flag used to fly, an upper deck where the bridge used to be, a bridge the box should have. keep fuel – or even explosives – against cobblestone dunes that rise out of the water.
The ships, some still full of bombs, belonged to The Black Sea of ​​Nazi Germany The fleet was deliberately sunk by the Germans as they retreated from Romania as Soviet forces advanced.
Historians say up to 200 German warships were sunk in September 1944 near Prahovo in Danube The canyon became known as the Iron Gate at the behest of the fleet commander when they were under fierce attack by the Soviets. The idea behind the intentional sinking was at least to slow the Soviet advance in the Balkans. But it didn’t help when Nazi Germany surrendered months later, in May 1945.
Unusually hot weather across Europe this summer is thought by scientists to be linked to global warming and other factors. Falling water levels have created dangerous conditions for shipping on many of the continent’s rivers, including the Danube, Europe’s second longest river flowing through 10 countries. Authorities in Serbia used dredging to keep boats moving.
The wrecks emerging from the depths are an impressive sight, but they have caused decades of trouble for river users, and now the Serbian government, with the support of the European Union, is working Plan to do something with them.
Some of the wrecks were brought to the river by the Communist government of Yugoslavia shortly after the war. But most of them still exist, hindering transportation, especially in the summer when water levels are low. For years, there have been plans to get the ships out of the muddy waters, but the operation was deemed too risky because of the explosives they carry and there was no funding to do so until recently.
Now, the European Union and the European Investment Bank have agreed to provide loans and grants to finance the relocation of some ships near Prahovo to improve the river’s navigation capacity. Danube. The total cost of the operation is estimated at 30 million euros ($30 million), of which about 16 million is grants.
The EU ambassador to Serbia, Emanuele Giaufret, said: “These ships were sunk and they have been lying on the riverbed ever since.” “And this is a problem. It’s a problem for traffic on the Danube, it limits mobility, it’s a danger because certain ships still contain unexploded ordnance.”
Accompanying Giaufret was Alessandro Bragonzi, head of the European Investment Bank in the Western Balkans. He said the project included the recovery of 21 sunken ships.
“It is estimated that there are more ships in the water, up to 40, but the ones that currently obstruct the channel conditions of the Danube, especially during periods of low water, are 21,” Bragonzi said. ‘ Bragonzi said.
Experts said the salvage operation would involve removing explosives from sunken ships and then destroying the wreck, rather than pulling the ships out of the river.





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