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Ice flood protection

Charles Darwin said that "the inanimate forces of nature — rocks, ice, snow, wind, and water, in perpetual battle with each other, yet allied against man — are (...) in perfect supremacy." Hungary is particularly endangered by floods — more than 23% of its territory is covered by floodplains, which are home to about 2.5 million people. In the eternal battle with elements, we need to protect several of the 2,000 industrial facilities that produce 25% of the GDP, but while the importance of flood protection is always talked about, we are rarely talking about ice floods.


Ice floods occur in a short time, so the available preparation time is minimal. The harsh weather conditions make the conditions of defence more difficult. Weather conditions have undergone significant changes in vain over the last two centuries – extreme conditions have a positive effect on ice floods.


The first records can be found from the 11th century, and everyone has heard of the great flood of 1838, during which 2281 houses were completely destroyed. You do not have to go far in history – the ice flood of 1956 ruined the country, causing invaluable damages and destroying the settlement of Bogyiszló. 30% of all discovered dike breaks in the Carpathian Basin can be attributed to ice floods.


Ice protection bears the brunt of the prevention. The Hungarian icebreaker fleet plays an indispensable role in breaking down the emerging ice barriers, reducing the flow of ice and providing domestic and international shipping routes.


After the tragic year of 1956, which was also tragic from a flood protection point of view, the construction of the fleet began in order to provide 23 icebreakers for the safety of the winter months in the twilight of the 21st century. The Danube fleet consists of 9 ships, the Tisza fleet consists of 13 ships, while the protection of Lake Balaton is supervised by a single icebreaker.


If necessary, the fleet serves not only in our country, but also in neighbouring countries – as it did after the events of 2017. The importance of the fleet is reflected in the fact that in recent years the Government of Hungary has provided about HUF 1 billion support to ensure that the refurbished, repaired machines are ready for any challenge.

The short film about performing icebreaking tasks in Serbia in 2017 can be viewed through the following link.