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Saturday 20 January 2018

Deaths as flood wave hits Europe

A farm is flooded by Elbe river near Strehla in eastern Germany (AP/dpa)
A farm is flooded by Elbe river near Strehla in eastern Germany (AP/dpa)
The river Elbe flooded the streets of the city of Bad Schandau in Saxony, Germany (AP)
Rescuers drive a boat through the flooded streets of Bad Schandau near the German-Czech boarder in Saxony (AP)
Aerial view of the river Elbe next to the city of Elster, eastern Germany (AP/dpa)
A woman with rubber boots walks across a flooded street under a bridge in Dresden, Germany (AP)
The flooded old centre of Passau on the German-Austrian border as floods hit central Europe (AP)
Two men in a boat cross the flooded market place of the city of Wehlen at the river Elbe, Germany (AP)
Restaurants are flooded at Copa Cagrana on a Danube island after heavy rainfalls in Vienna, Austria (AP)

Authorities say 16 people have died and at least four others are missing in the floods that have ravaged central Europe.

Firefighters said more than 19,000 people have been evacuated from the flooding in the Czech Republic. One raging flood that inundated parts of Prague is now heading north toward Germany.

The dead included eight people in the Czech Republic, four in Germany, two in Austria and one in Slovakia.

Authorities are now concerned about the safety of chemical plants next to the swollen rivers. The plants have been shut down and their chemicals removed.

Hundreds of people are being evacuated in the German city of Dresden, where the Elbe river is expected to crest later. More than 3,000 people have had to leave their homes in the Czech city of Usti nad Labem on the Elbe River near the German border, where floodwaters are still on the rise.

"It's not over yet," Czech Prime Minister Petr Necas said. "There're tough moments still ahead of us." He pledged more than five billion koruna (£162 million) for clean-up work.

Czech public television said a barrier that protects one major chemical plant in Lovosice was leaking. Necas is scheduled to visit the plant later.

Downstream, hundreds of people were being evacuated in the German city of Dresden, where the Elbe is expected to crest later. In the eastern German city of Halle, the central area was already flooded.

Families in southern Germany scrambled to their rooftops after two levees broke and are being airlifted to safety as the raging floodwaters sweep north. In Deggendorf, the dpa news agency said helicopters started evacuating residents after two levees along the Danube and Isar rivers broke and huge masses of water poured into the Bavarian village.

Firefighter Alois Schraufstetter said the water in the town was already three metres (10 feet) high. He said it was "a life-threatening situation". He said four farmers were rescued at the very last minute by helicopter as the floods submerged their tractor.

Press Association

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