Accessibility links

Breaking News

Czech Republic/Poland: Rains Hit Flood-Stricken Areas

Prague, 18 July 1997 (RFE/RL) - Heavy rains today began anew in flood-stricken areas of the Czech Republic, Poland, and Austria.

In the Czech Republic, where floods have killed 46 people, the Zlin district flood commission in Central Moravia declared a state of emergency this morning in response to rising water levels. Officials in Brno declared the second degree of flood alert. Water in eight reservoirs was partially drained to prepare for the rains which water-soaked land and swollen rivers will be unable to absorb.

Meanwhile in Poland, where floods have killed 48 people, more than 16,000 troops were mobilized to reinforce flood-protection barriers and thousands of people were warned of possible evacutions.

A Czech Center spokesman in London today announced the opening of a special bank account earmarked for flood-relief donations. Similar accounts were recenly opened by Czech Center branches in New York and Vienna. Czech officials earlier this week estimated of the cost of the flood damage at between $1.5 and 3 billion

In the United States, the Polish community has launched relief efforts for flood victims in Poland.

The Polish American Congress, the community's major representative organization, says its Charitable Foundation has already collected $100,000 from the Polish National Alliance, a fraternal orgagnization based in Chicago.

The Congress says the U.S. Government has donated $100,000 for emergency relief in Poland to buy blankets, water pumps, water purification equipment and other supplies.

The Polish American group says there is a pressing need for antibiotics and vaccines in Poland and that U.S. drug companies are prepared to donate these when proper safeguards are established. It quotes Polish health authorities as saying only medications approved for use in Poland will be offered.

There are an estimated 12 million Americans of Polish descent in the United States. Some 500,000 reside in the city of Chicago.