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» »Unlabelled » Deadly Europe floods prompt mass evacuations in Germany as troops sent in to help

People clear up the streets in Passau, southern Germany, June 5, 2013.
People clear up the streets in Passau, southern Germany, June 5, 2013. 

BERLIN Rising river levels are still threatening vast parts of eastern and southern Germany and hundreds of people were being evacuated in Dresden.
A city spokeswoman told German news agency dpa on Wednesday some 600 people needed to leave their homes and electricity was turned off in some parts of the eastern city that was flooded by the Elbe river.
Spokeswoman Heike Grossman said the peak of the flood in Dresden was expected later in the day. Flood barriers had been erected to keep the water out of the town's historic center, but if the floodwater level peaked above the crucial 9-meter mark (roughly 9 yards), it would breach the barriers. Wednesday morning, the water had climbed to 8.3 meters.
In the eastern city of Halle, the downtown area was flooded. Elsewhere in the flood-affected regions, soldiers and residents were reinforcing soaked levees with sand bags to keep them from breaking.

In the hard-hit Bavarian city of Passau, the water was slowly receding, leaving behind vast amounts of debris.
On Tuesday, Germany dispatched thousands of soldiers to help cities and towns cope with the flooding — reinforcements that came a day after Passau saw its worst flooding since 1501.
The death toll rose to at least 10, including seven in the neighboring Czech Republic, where a man was found dead in the water in eastern Bohemia. Another nine people have been reported missing in the floods that have also swept through Austria and Switzerland.

Chancellor Angela Merkel toured flooded German regions, pledging 100 million euros ($130 million) in immediate federal help and holding out the possibility for more. She told reporters in Passau, a city of 50,000 on the Austrian border, that the damage looked even worse than during the massive flooding that hit central Europe in 2002.
Some 5,000 German soldiers were called in as well as more than 2,000 federal disaster workers and 700 federal police to sandbag areas in danger of flooding and provide other assistance. Water levels were still rising in major rivers such as the Danube and Elbe as well as tributaries.
In the Czech Republic, authorities evacuated animals from the Prague zoo and closed a major bridge in the capital on Tuesday.
The rain in Prague has halted but the Vltava river that runs through the city and flows into the Elbe was still raging, with currents and water levels far exceeding the norm. The famous Charles Bridge was closed as a precaution.
On the outskirts of Prague, a major Staropramen beer brewery on the river bank was closed as a protective measure — as were several major chemical factories. One of them — Spolana — released dangerous toxic chemicals into the Elbe during the devastating floods of 2002. READ MORE.....

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