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More Central European Cities Bracing For Floodwaters

Prague, 15 August 2002 (RFE/RL) -- Floodwaters burst through a dike near the biggest chemical-industry complex in eastern Germany today, forcing an evacuation of the town of Bitterfield. Flooding also continues to wreak havoc in the Czech Republic and Slovakia. Bitterfield, in Saxony Anhalt, is home to 350 chemical firms. German authorities also began to evacuate the town of Muehlberg, north of Dresden on the Elbe river.

Dresden is still facing rising floodwaters, after the Elbe burst its banks already this week, leaving the Semper Opera and Zwinger Gallery underwater.

In Bratislava, Slovakia's President Rudolf Schuster expressed concerns about the rising level of the Danube River: "It's a sad scene, the water level is still rising."

In the Czech Republic, a chemical alert was called in the town of Neratovice, north of the capital Prague, when poisonous chlorine gas began leaking from a flooded chemical factory. Residents are likely to evacuate from the town, which lies on the Labe (Elbe) River.

The European Union today offered more than 55 million euros to the Czech Republic, where at least 11 people were killed this week in floods.

For more on this story, please see Central Europe: Floodwaters Receding In Prague, But Danger Rising In Cities Downstream.