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Czech Republic/Poland: Floods Kill 25

Prague, 10 July 1997 (RFE/RL) -- Authorities in the Czech Republic and Poland say property damage is in the hundreds of millions of dollars following the worst floods this century. The floods so far have killed 10 people in the Czech Republic and at least 15 in Poland. Two deaths have also been reported in Austria.

Our Warsaw correspondent reports that the worst hit in Poland are the southern towns of Raciborz, Nysa, Opole and Klodzko, where police say they caught several people looting abandoned shops. Some looting was also reported in the Czech Republic.

Czech Prime Minister Vaclav Klaus says flood damage will run into the hundreds of millions of dollars in the eastern half of the country. Much of the region, which includes major industrial centers, remains under water today with no electricity or phone links.

More than 16,000 people near the Moravian city of Ostrava had to be evacuated when authorities opened the floodgates of a dam to prevent it from bursting. Thousands of firemen and army troops have are continuing to help residents evacuate the area. Mass appeals have been launched for emergency food and medical supplies.

Floods have also have caused considerable damage across southern Slovakia, although there are no reports of casualties.