Publication Date June 6, 2013

Floodwaters surge into Dresden, northern Germany

A helper cleans the bank of river Elbe in front of the historical bridge Blaues Wunder (Blue Miracle), left, in Dresden, eastern Germany, Thursday, June 6, 2013. Photo: Jens Meyer, AP

The surging Elbe River crested Thursday in the eastern German city of Dresden, sparing the historic city center but engulfing wide areas of the Saxony capital.

Residents and emergency crews had worked through the night to fight the floods in Dresden. The German military and the national disaster team sent more support in a frantic effort to sandbag levees and riverbanks as floodwaters that have claimed 16 lives since last week surged north.

The Elbe hit 8.76 meters (28 feet, 9 inches) around midday — well above its regular level of two meters (6 1/2 feet).

Germany has 60,000 local emergency personnel and aid workers, as well as 25,000 federal disaster responders and 16,000 soldiers now fighting the floods