Central Europe reels under floods, 21 killed

Berlin, June 10 (IANS) Rivers in Germany, Hungary and the Czech Republic have reached record high levels, and after a week of rain an estimated 21 people have died in floods in Central Europe, Xinhua reported Monday.

A dam near Saxony-Anhalt state capital Magdeburg in eastern Germany burst overnight Monday, despite attempts to stabilise it, forcing authorities to ask more than 20,000 people to leave their homes.

The dam breach happened at a village 40 km northeast of Magdeburg, regional disaster management authorities said, and hundreds of local residents were immediately asked to evacuate.

The toll of 21 was across central Europe, media reports said.

Water levels in the Elbe river rose to a record 7.4 metres over the weekend, more than five metres higher that the normal reading of two metres, the Xinhua report said.

According to the water management office of the Hungarian interior ministry, the water level of the Danube river peaked at 891 cm in the capital city of Budapest Sunday night.

Hungary’s National Technical Management Corps (OMIT) said that measures to contain flood levels have been taken and the OMIT were ready to tackle the problems of residue created by the receding river.

In the Czech Republic, acting Mayor Tomas Hudecek of Prague lifted the state of emergency in the capital city Monday after reviewing the situation in respect of the Vltava river.

The Vltava water level has been dropping since Saturday, but Hudecek then refused to lift the state of danger for the weather office forecast further rains.

Water has been released from reservoirs that were responsible for some floods in the city and the reservoirs on the Vltava also have a sufficient retention capacity now, the acting mayor said.

Prague will keep its anti-flood barriers for the time being.

Floods were also reported in Slovakia, Austria, Poland and Switzerland.

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