Floods wreak havoc across central Europe

Death toll at eight as floodwater rises to highest levels in some regions in almost 70 years.

    At least eight people have been killed in central Europe as floodwater inundates large areas of Germany, Austria, Switzerland and the Czech Republic.

    Nine others remain missing following torrential rains, and floodwater that peaked in Prague, Czech Republic, was heading towards Germany, officials said.

    Petr Dvorak, a spokesman for the Czech Hydrometeorogical Institute, said on Tuesday that waters were would soon reach Usti and Labern, about 30km from the German border.

    The floods have deluged Prague's historic centre, damaging businesses and forcing a chaotic nighttime evacuation of the city's zoo. Seven people have died so far in the Czech Republic, with two in Austria and one in Switzerland. 

    "The last victim [in the Czech Republic] was a lady who was walking her dog in a park on Monday evening and who died under an eroded tree that fell on her," police spokeswoman Pavla Kopecka said.

    Rising high

    Dvorak said the waters would recede in the western part of the Czech Republic on Wednesday.

    "There will be heavier rain in the east of the country and some rivers there will rise high, but the extent should be lower than here," he added.

    Waters from three swollen rivers gushed into the old town of Passau in southeast Germany, one of the worst-hit cities, pushing water levels to the highest they have been in 70 years.

    In Hungary, 400 people were reported to be working on flood defences in the capital Budapest, which is built on the banks of the Danube.

    Central Europe last suffered similar serious flooding in 2002, which caused billions of dollars of damage and killed dozens, including 17 in the Czech Republic.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and agencies


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