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Europe floods leave 8 dead, 9 missing as water levels hit highest points in 70 years

by Aida Buchanan (2019-08-12)

Passau Waters from three swollen rivers gushed into the old town of Passau in southeast Germany on Monday, as officials warned that water levels already the highest in 70 years could rise further.

The city was one of the worst hit by flooding that has spread across a large area of central Europe following heavy rainfall in recent days. At least eight people were reported to have died and nine were missing due to floods in Germany, Austria, Switzerland and the Czech Republic.

"The situation is extremely dramatic," Herbert Zillinger, a spokesman for 바카라 오토 Passau's crisis center, told The Associated Press.

Much of the city was inaccessible on foot and the electricity supply was shut down as a precaution, he said. Rescuers were using boats to evacuate residents from flooded parts of the city.

But with water from the Danube, Inn and Ilz rivers relentlessly pouring into the city, water was advancing into previously dry streets in one case going from dry to ankle-deep within half an hour. Markers set in 1954, when the city suffered its worst flooding in living memory, have disappeared beneath the rising water.

The German army said it has sent 1,760 soldiers to help local authorities and volunteers reinforce flood defenses particularly in the south and east of the country. Chancellor Angela Merkel planned to visit flood-hit areas Tuesday, her spokesman said.

Authorities in the Czech Republic worked Monday to erect further protective metal barriers along the Vltava river, which also flows through the capital Prague.

Interim mayor Tomas Hudecek said no major evacuations were planned, but animals from a zoo located by the river had been taken to safety. Parts of the city's subway transportation network also were shut down because of flooding.

The Charles Bridge normally packed with tourists at this time of year was closed to the public as were some other popular spots near the river at the foot of Prague Castle. Rescuers evacuated some 2,700 people across the western half of the country where the government declared a state of emergency in most regions.

Some had to leave their homes in the southern neighborhoods of Prague while further evacuations have been under way in the northern Czech Republic, awaiting a flood wave later Monday.