Bucharest in a word: Wet

September 21 2005

Finding dry pavement upon awakening this morning was a pleasant (but momentary) surprise.  It had been raining non-stop since I arrived on Tuesday night.  By Wednesday evening, we needed a boat -- not a car -- to get around the flooded streets of the capital.  In some places, the standing water on the pavement was up to the doorframes of the cars.  Wow.

Not to intrude too much in the world of politics, but the local discussion of this flooding makes the "blame game" played in New Orleans this month look tame by comparison.  The local English-language newspaper reported on the flooding:

Apa Nova blames city inhabitants

One third of the Capital City's streets were blocked, hundreds of houses flooded, RATB routes also blocked and schools and kindergartens closed yesterday after one night's rain. According to Apa Nova, the cause of the disaster is not the sewerage system, but inhabitants' morning shower. The streets most affected by the rain are from the Third and Fourth District, especially in the area between Sincai region, Dambovita's key and Mihai Bravu. ...

Yet, Apa Nova is blaming the city's inhabitants, claiming they are responsible for the city being flooded. "Another characteristic element for Bucharest - which is not a system problem, but an education problem - is the fact that the garbage on the streets reaches the collecting system and blocks the pipes. If the city's inhabitants would stop throwing things on the ground, then we wouldn't be dealing with such problems," the Apa Nova general manager, Andrei Podani, stated.
(Source: Nine O'Clock -- no direct link available)

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