The terrible effects of the Polish government’s disregard for warnings about an impending record-breaking flood are detailed in the Netflix documentary High Water. The worrying rise in water levels, according to Wroclaw’s resident hydrologist Jasmina Tremer, alarms officials of the potential for a flood.
The Pope’s visit appears to be the focus of the Polish administration rather than the impending threat. The flood is predicted to do previously unheard-of damage, but authorities believe the current safety measures can protect people and property.
Unfortunately, the government’s risk backfires when Poland experiences a once-in-a-millennium natural disaster.
Is High Water A True Story?
The flood events are too actual, even though none of the characters in High Water are real people.
River levels in Central Europe rose due to a prolonged period of rain during the summer of 1997, most noticeably in Poland, Germany, and the Czech Republic. Thanks to low-pressure weather that came from Italy to Poland and stayed there for an abnormally extended time, several months’ worth of rain fell in just a few days.
Several towns, notably Prudnik, Guchoazy, and Krapkowice, were affected by the rising water levels as the flood swept through Poland. Additionally, the water in Kodzko seriously damaged several historic buildings.
The downpour caused the country’s water levels to rise two to three meters above average, breaking all prior records. The water levels increased to the point that they exceeded all of the measurement devices.
Even though the Oder was the main river to flood, the catastrophe became known as the “Millennium Flood” because it was regarded numerically as a once-in-a-millennium event.
At its worst, the flood submerged about 40% of Wroclaw, with some sections receiving 500 liters of rain per square meter.
The floods caused 114 fatalities overall, of which 56 occurred in Poland and another 50 in the Czech Republic. No one died as a result of the flood in Germany.
The flood also had a significant financial impact; the estimated cost of the damage is $4.5 billion. Around 7,000 people lost everything they owned in Poland, while slightly under 700,000 homes were badly damaged or destroyed. The flooding impacted 9,000 additional businesses.
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One of the worst calamities to strike Poland since the conclusion of World War II, 100 schools across the nation were also devastated, and the flood ruined more than 2% of the country’s territory. As a result, President Aleksander Kwaniewski proclaimed July 18 as a National Day of Mourning.
The show’s author, Anna Kepinska, stated that rather than accurately portraying actual events, the series focused more on universal concepts like the urge to act and an exceptional collective movement. It was unique.
“Overnight, the struggle with the element took the place of everyday daily life, and dependable leaders appeared in the crowd. For us, the water only serves as a setting and an initiator of events.
Netflix now has High Water accessible for streaming. Read our guides to the top Netflix movies and television shows.
Was The 1997 Flood Indeed So Politicized?
High Water’s Jakub Marczak character analyses how the political context at the time affected Poland’s response to the Millennium Flood in Wroclaw (Tomasz Schuchardt). In the series, Jakub frequently finds himself thwarted by his bosses’ political maneuvers as they try to balance the flood preparations with their bureaucratic activities in the run-up to the election.
This feature of the Wroclaw flood in High Water is also accurate because the tragedy was employed both during and after the incident as a political tool. Wodzimierz Cimoszewicz, the prime minister at the time, was criticized for his initial comments made during the tragedy, and the real-life account of his response was used to justify why he needed to resign and why the nation needed to be declared in an emergency.
The flood and the Polish government’s response were utilized as political weapons since the campaign lead-ups during the flood were so intensely focused on winning public favor rather than advancing quality policies. Voting choices in the subsequent parliamentary elections were significantly altered due to the scrutiny of the civil response to the crisis.
How Much The 1997 Flood Did Actual Damage?
In High Water, it is stated that 56 people perished in the city’s flooding while 40,000 other people lost everything. According to the program, the 1997 Wroclaw flood caused damages totaling 12 billion PLN (Polish Zloty), or more than $2.5 billion by today’s standards, making it the worst disaster to affect Poland since World War II.
This last sequence, which places the tragedy in perspective and summarises the breadth of the devastation caused by the flood, is realistic; 124 people died in all of Europe. Along with damaging 700,000 apartments, 800 schools, and 4,000 bridges, the flooding in Poland also caused 7,000 people to become homeless.