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Czech Republic: Flood Waters Rising In Prague

Prague, 14 August 2002 (RFE/RL) -- Flood waters continue to rise in Prague this morning, as the Czech capital braces for another wave of flood waters. Tens of thousands of people have already been evacuated from Prague as rushing waters on the Vltava River spilled over its embankments yesterday, flooding parts of the city. Prague Mayor Igor Nemec said the worst is still to come.

Water levels on the Vltava -- already six meters above normal levels -- are slowly rising, and are expected to peak later today. Emergency teams have been working through the night to reinforce sandbag walls protecting the entrance to the city's Old Town Square-- a top tourist site. Nemec said the Old Town "should remain safe." But all residents there and in the old Jewish quarter, Josefov, were evacuated overnight.

Interior Minister Stanislav Gross said some 200,000 people across the country had been forced from their homes in the largest evacuation since World War II.

Flood water has surged in from the south through the day and night as heavy rains spread chaos across Central Europe. Rising rivers flooded Dresden in Germany, and Salzburg, Austria, was threatened by the floodwaters.

Torrential rains and floods from Germany to Russia have killed more than 70 people in a week.