€100 m. flood aid

worldfloodinghitseuropehardMUNICH — Cities in southern and eastern Germany are on high alert as heavy floodwaters swell rivers including the Elbe.

In Halle, an appeal has gone out to residents to help reinforce flood defences while Dresden is preparing for water levels 5m higher than normal.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has promised ‚100 million in emergency aid for flood-hit areas.

Meanwhile, river levels in Prague have begun to fall, say the Czech authorities, as floodwaters move north.

Overnight, flood barriers on the River Vltava in the south of the country were raised, releasing a torrent of water.

However, Prague’s flood defences appear to have held, and the risk of severe flooding in the city centre seems to be receding.

The city of Regensburg has declared a state of emergency, while in the state of Saxony – which includes Dresden – officials were warning of higher water levels than during the record floods of 2002.

The bodies of two people, a man and a woman, were found separately around the southern town of Guenzburg. At least seven people have died in the Czech Republic and two in Austria after days of heavy rain.

Hungary has also declared a state of emergency. Floodwaters on the Danube are expected to peak there on Thursday.

Germany has drafted in the army to help with flood defences.

In the Bavarian town of Passau, floodwaters reached a level not seen since the 16th Century, but have now begun to recede.

Chancellor Angela Merkel visited the worst affected regions on Tuesday, flying over Bavaria, Saxony and Thuringia by helicopter.

She promised ‚100 million in immediate aid, of which ‚50 million will go to Bavaria.

In the Czech Republic, a nationwide state of emergency is still in force. Water levels were expected to peak in the north later today.

Around 3,000 people have been forced to leave their homes across the west of the country.

As a precaution, Prague’s metro system and central sewage treatment plant were closed, metal flood defences were erected and sandbags built up along the banks of the Vltava. (BBC)

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