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Eastern Europe: Flooding Kills 50; Continues In Czech Republic, Poland

Prague, 24 July 1998 (RFE/RL) - Flooding has caused nearly 50 deaths and destroyed hundreds of homes in Slovakia, Poland and the Czech Republic after several days of heavy rain. In the most serious single incident, a three-meter-high wave of water on a Polish mountain stream near the Czech border destroyed 200 homes in two spa towns late Wednesday, killing seven Poles and forcing the evacuation of some 1,200 people.

The Polish minister for flood affairs, Jerzy Widzyk, says the deluge came so suddenly that there was no time to prepare.

Heavy rains occured for a second night in the Czech district of Rychnov nad Kneznou, where nearly 30 villages have been flooded. As of this afternoon, four bodies have been recovered from the flood waters in the Czech Republic. One person is still missing.

In neighboring Germany, gale force winds in Bavaria last night knocked down trees, blocking roads and railway lines near the towns of Weiden and Landshut.

Meanwhile, the death toll from flooding in northeastern Slovakia this week stands at 36, with more than 30 people still missing from the Romany shantytown at Jarovnice. A funeral service is to be held today for the victims.

Slovak doctors appealed today for medical supplies to halt the spread of disease in the affected areas. Hepatitis-A poses a threat to children in the areas most afflicted by the recent flooding.