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Hungary floodwaters begin to subside

Budapest escapes damage as swollen Danube river recedes from record level of 8.91 metres.

Last Modified: 10 Jun 2013 20:19
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About 1,300 people from 34 towns and villages have been forced to leave their homes in Hungary [Reuters]

Floodwaters have slowly subsided in Hungary, after the river Danube reached record levels on Sunday peaking at 8.91 metres.

Istvan Tarlos, Budapest's mayor, said on Monday that the capital city escaped damage from the swollen river as it started receding slowly. There were no fatalities in Hungary but 21 people have died in floods across central Europe.

"Thank God the river has started to recede... [and] I have no catastrophe to report," said Tarlos, stating that the previous peak record was at 8.6 metres in the 2006 floods.

Floods have forced tens of thousands of people to flee their homes over the past week in Germany, Austria, Slovakia, Poland, the Czech Republic and Hungary.

On Sunday, thousands of people left their homes in eastern Germany as a dam burst on the River Elbe and swathes of farmland were flooded in an attempt to spare towns.

'Very scary'

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban said on Monday that 20,000 people worked the previous day along the Danube strengthening defences and now the focus would shift to the section of the river south of Budapest.

"As for the stretch south of Budapest the order is still the same as what applied to the northern part of the country: we do not give up any dykes," he said.

In Hungary, about 1,300 people from 34 towns and villages have been forced to leave their homes in Hungary and 44 roads have been closed due to the floods, authorities said on Sunday.

Budapest residents expressed relief that the worst was over.

"I don't envy those who had to be evacuated. The river looks very stubborn, very scary... luckily it's going down already," said 18-year-old Bence Abonyi, a resident, walking along an embankment that had been closed and flooded.

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