Dear TM friends, many of you may not be aware that large areas along the Danube and Elbe rivers in Germany, Austria, the Czech Republic and Poland have been devastated by flooding to an unprecedented degree. In the town of Passau, the flooding was the worst for more than 500 years, rising above the high-water mark of 1504. This is the second record flood in ten years, beating the so-called "Millennium Flood" of 2002. Many people who were made homeless then and have only just recovered have now been hit again, and are much worse off because insurance companies have denied them cover. Several theatres have been hard hit. In Passau, the local opera house - one of the oldest in Germany - had the orchestra pit, the stage area and all the stage technics and the stalls under water for more than a week, and the flooding left many tons of mud that became hard as concrete on drying. The music department at Passau University lost all of their sheet music archive and every piano they possessed - 29 in all. Equally, local music schools, bands, and orchestras all over the flooded area (which covers more than 2,000 miles of river length) have been hard hit. In an unprecedented effort, rescue professionals, army personnel and volunteers have managed to contain the worst damage and are now clearing up the debris. However, official help can only go a certain way, and the local charities are left with an enormous amount of work to be done, and not enough money to do it. I am appealing to all TMers to stay their N+1 virus for a moment and donate to one of the flood help charities (I can provide details via PM). I myself, together with my partner am organizing a series of charity concerts, and so far, we have raised the equivalent of $ 15,000. However, the damage in Austria alone is estimated to be somewhere near ONE HUNDRED MILLION DOLLARS. The other countries have not managed to survey all the damage yet, or are still in the grip of the disaster. In some places, dykes in danger of breaking had to be strengthened by sinking cargo lighters alongside - an effort that really is a last-ditch attempt to stay the flood. Even now, major roadways are still closed to all traffic. So PLEASE DONATE! Thank you for your effort.