Czech morning news in brief: Top headlines for August 16, 2021

Evacuation plane from Kabul lands in Prague, strong storms set to hit the Czech Republic, lion cubs born at Dvůr Králové safari park.

Expats.cz Staff

Written by Expats.cz Staff Published on 16.08.2021 09:52:00 (updated on 16.08.2021) Reading time: 3 minutes

First evacuation plane from Kabul lands in Prague

The first military plane carrying Czechs evacuated from Afghanistan arrived at Prague’s Kbely airport on Monday morning. 46 Czechs, their colleagues and families were carried on the plane out of Kabul after the Taliban took control of the Afghan capital on Sunday. Foreign Minister Jakub Kulhánek said that rescue operations for Czechs still in the country will continue. Minister of the Interior and Deputy Prime Minister Jan Hamáček meanwhile described the successful evacuation of Czechs as a “miracle” given the deteriorating situation in Afghanistan. Government representatives did not state how many evacuation flights are planned. The chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Chamber of Deputies has claimed the number of people to be evacuated is less than one hundred, including two diplomats, a military police unit, employees of the local Czech embassy and interpreters who helped the Czech army.

Weather alert as storms set to strike the Czech Republic

Strong storms will hit South Bohemia and parts of the Plzeň region tonight, while on Monday morning torrential rain and hail will strike Moravia and the Vysočina region, the Czech Hydrometeorlogical Institute (CHMU) has warned. The CHMU issued a very high alert for Sunday for areas including České Budějovice and Český Krumlov. The CHMU also issued a warning for Vysočina, South Bohemia, Olomouc, Moravia-Silesia and Zlín from Monday afternoon at 15:00 until midnight. The storm band approaching the Czech Republic is expected to be accompanied by large hailstones and winds reaching 90 km/h, but the storms will weaken on their way further into the country. Temperatures exceeded 30 degrees Celsius in many locations throughout the Czech Republic on Sunday.

Czech firefighters return home from wildfire mission in Greece

Czech firefighters who have been deployed on the Peloponnese Peninsula for a week to assist in combating wildfires in Greece have completed their mission abroad. The situation in Greece has significantly improved and Czech firefighters should arrive home on Tuesday. Other foreign teams are also leaving the country, although the risk of wildfires remains high. Dozens of new fire clusters have been reported in Greece since Saturday, when Czech, French and Greek firefighters cooperated to extinguish fires ripping through difficult terrain. Firefighting aircraft were also deployed to put out newly emerging fire clusters. Wildfires are a regular occurrence in Greece during summer, but this year’s fires have been particularly devastating due to temperatures exceeding 40 degrees Celsius. Since late July, fires in Greece are thought to have burnt down an area roughly twice the size of Prague.

Prague hotels record steep drop in sales with further collapse possible

Sales in the hotel industry in Prague fell dramatically this summer. The tourism industry in the capital city has been hit harder than any other Czech region, and sales fell by 70 percent this year compared to 2020, when sales were already severely affected by the pandemic. The Association of Hotels and Restaurants in the Czech Republic warned that if the government fails to launch an effective kurzarbeit support program helping tourism businesses retain employees, the industry could collapse still further in the coming months. The association urged the implementation of aid in the most affected regions first and foremost. In Prague, hotel occupancy was 18 percent on average in June and July. Four- and five-star hotels in the capital had occupancy rates of only 9.9 percent in the first of the year

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Dvůr Králové safari park welcomes two rare Barbary lion cubs

Two rare Barbary lion cubs have been born at Dvůr Králové safari park. Lioness Khalila gave birth to the two cubs in late July, and the safari park announced that the development of the cubs, one male and one female, is proceeding as expected. The cubs now weighh around three and a half kilograms. They can see and crawl, but park visitors will not be able to see the cubs until they have grown a little more. It is thought the cubs will first be on display to the public in September. Barbary lions once inhabited large swathes of northern Africa, but are now completely extinct in the wild, largely due to human activities. Those who wish to support the development of the youngest members of the Dvůr Králové family can buy a meal for the cubs’ mother Khalila by visiting the park’s website.

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