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German, Slovak Cities Face Worsening Floods

Prague, 15 August 2002 (RFE/RL) -- Rising flood waters are continuing to wreak havoc in Germany and Slovakia, as the Czech Republic deals with new crises following yesterday's flood crest. The Vltava River apparently reached its peak yesterday in the Czech capital Prague, where some 50,000 residents have been evacuated. But on the Labe (Elbe) River in the country's north, five ships today broke loose from a port, damaging a gas pipeline and threatening to collide with bridges downstream.

Thousands of residents fled their homes in the German city of Dresden, where rescue workers were working to evacuate patients from a hospital. Authorities said the Elbe is still rising, and threatens cities farther downstream from Dresden as the flood crest progresses.

The Slovak capital Bratislava has declared a state of emergency as the Danube River approaches a 500-year high.

Nearly 100 people have died in floods and storms across Europe and Russia since last week.