Central Europe hit by severe floods, killing several residents
Sunday, June 2, 2013, 8:31 - Authorities in parts of central Europe issued disaster warnings and scrambled to reinforce flood defences Sunday as rivers swelled by days of heavy rain threatened to burst their banks.
Several people have died or are missing in the floods in Germany, the Czech Republic and Switzerland since Thursday. Some residents also have been evacuated from flooding in southwestern Poland.
Czech officials said the waters of the Vltava river could reach critical levels in Prague late Sunday and that special metal walls were being erected to prevent flooding.
In the town of Trebenice where a woman was found dead in the rubble after a summer cottage collapsed due to the raging water, authorities discovered the dead body of a man, Czech public television reported. Separately, at least three other people were reportedly missing.
Many roads and train lines were closed, including a major one from Prague to the eastern part of the country.
The government also declared a state of emergency in six regions, in the western half of the country and Prague, that have been badly hit by the flooding.
Thousands of people have had to be evacuated from their homes across the country, mainly in the north and the south. In Prague, authorities have ordered the evacuation of the parts of the city's zoo located by the river.
Several cities including Chemnitz in the east, and Passau and Rosenheim in the south, issued disaster warnings.
Evacuations are also taking place in neighbouring Austria and Switzerland.
Rivers also were spilling over their banks in some rural areas of southwestern Poland, and people being evacuated. In one place flood waters swept away a fire truck.
Meteorologists are predicting the rainfall will ease in the coming days.
With files from The Associated Press