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Disaster in Europe: Fires out, flood waters recede (photos)
Mail&Guardian ^ | August 25th, 2005 | Jean-Michel Stoullig | Vienna, Austria

Posted on 08/25/2005 10:01:46 PM PDT by M. Espinola

Europe's weather crisis eased on Thursday as fires were put out in Portugal and flood waters receded in central Europe, but the death toll rose in Romania and Austria after heavy rains.

Since June, the flooding in central and eastern Europe has caused 103 deaths, while fires in drought-stricken Portugal, Spain and France killed 37, according to figures compiled by news agency AFP.

Portuguese firefighters said on Thursday they had brought under control all blazes that have ravaged the centre and north of the country over the past two weeks, thanks to the arrival of cooler weather.

A villager runs from a forest fire in Miranda Do Corvo in Portugal

Across the country, 850 firefighters backed by 600 soldiers were still monitoring the sites of recent blazes, however, to guard against flare-ups, the civil protection agency said in a statement.

Wildfires have killed 15 people, including 10 firefighters, destroyed more than 100 homes and charred at least 180 000ha of land since the start of the year.

Meanwhile, flood waters receded across central and eastern Europe, but the death toll continued to rise in Romania and Austria.

An aerial view shows flooding in Berne, Switzerland

"Unfortunately, we are expecting the number of victims to rise hour by hour," Romanian Interior Minister Vasile Blaga said at a news conference on Thursday.

"Our priority is the safety of residents. For that reason, we have deployed nearly 10 000 military troops and police to help in rescue operations," Blaga said.

Thirteen people have died in Romania in the past three days and three more are missing, including a four-year-old girl.

The latest victims brought the toll from extreme weather in Romania to 66 since the beginning of this year, Braga said.

Most victims have been elderly people swept away by the currents of raging rivers.

Detailing the extent of the disaster, Blaga said nearly 2 000 people have been evacuated from their homes over the past two weeks and 400 houses have been swept away by flood waters. Damage is estimated at more than €1,5-billion.

In Austria, an 81-year-old man on Thursday became the fourth victim in three days of heavy flooding, as 14 army helicopters were airlifting food and medicine to about 5 000 stranded tourists in Paznauntal, in the western province of Tyrol.

The latest victim was driving his car when he veered into the raging currents of the Litz River in the western province of Vorarlberg.

In Switzerland, authorities continued to evacuate residents from flood-stricken areas on Thursday as rescue workers battled to remove debris that threatened dams and bridges even as the waters subsided.

The water levels in much of Switzerland have stabilized. Here in Lucerne, residents and tourists keep their feet dry on wooden boardwalks.

Six people were dead or missing after four days of flooding in Switzerland's north, centre and east.

In the capital, Bern, authorities continued to evacuate residents by boat and helicopter from a district alongside the Aare River, where lower floors were under water.

Rail traffic remained erratic in many central and eastern regions.

Meanwhile, Germany registered its first victim from heavy rains when a 28-year-old man was swept into the water after he and two friends went out in a rubber dinghy on a raging river near the southern Bavarian city of Rosenheim on Wednesday evening, according to the police.

On Thursday, rivers that rose to record levels earlier in the week continued to recede or remained below the hazardous heights that had been expected, authorities said.

German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder was later on Thursday scheduled to survey the damage in Augsburg, which sits on the Lech river, a tributary of the Danube that also flooded.

The Regensburg city center is threatened by the raging waters of the Danube. Downstream, many other towns are preparing for the worst.

The water levels also subsided in Croatia, Czech Republic, Hungary and Slovenia, all affected by the flooding in the past week, as well as in Bulgaria, where 26 have died in the heavy rains since June. -- Sapa-AFP

photos added


TOPICS: Germany; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: austria; bulgaria; croatia; czechrepublic; danube; europe; floods; germany; hungary; rivers; romania; slovenia; switzerland; weather

In much of the Alpine region, the waters have now subsided, leaving behind mountains of mud and devastation.

Swiss army soldiers remove driftwood from the Aare river water front in the Matte suburb of the Swiss capital of Bern, Thursday, Aug. 25th, 2005. More residents of the Swiss capital of Bern were expected to be evacuated on Thursday as floods continue to engulf part of the city. More than 300 people have already been moved from the flooded Matte district of the city, a low-lying area next to the river Aare, authorities said. (AP Photo/KEYSTONE/Lukas Lehmann)

The swollen river Danube floods the compound of the monastery of Weltenburg near Kelheim, southern Germany, Thursday, Aug. 25th, 2005. In Germany, the Danube flooded part of the southeastern town of Kelheim, including its Weltenburg Monastery, founded in the 7th century and described as the oldest in Bavaria. The ground floor of the Benedictine monastery, which draws 500,000 visitors a year, was submerged early Thursday, said Father Benedikt, the monastery's prior. (AP Photo/Christof Stache)

Residents put sand bags in front of a bank in a flooded street of Lucerne. Swiss authorities continued to evacuate residents from flood-stricken areas as rescue workers battled to remove debris that threatened dams and bridges even as the waters subsided.(AFP/Bruno Ferrandez)

Bulgarian soldiers rescue an elderly woman from flood waters in Sofia. Defense Minister Vesselin Bliznakov said the Bulgarian army is helping build dykes and re-build houses in flood-hit regions near Sofia and in the east of the country where thousands are still homeless.(AFP/File/Vassil Donev)

A Bulgarian Roma man evacuates his family from their flooded house in the town of Ihtiman, some 60 km east of the capital Sofia, August 5, 2005. Heavy storms and floods this summer have killed 17 people and caused 393 million levs ($248 million) of damage in Bulgaria, the Black Sea country's government said on Thursday. REUTERS/Stoyan Nenov

U.S. actor Steven Seagal (R) hands food supplies to an elderly man in the remote village of Milcovul, 190 km (118 miles) north-east of Bucharest, August 6th, 2005. While in Romania to film German director Michael Keusch's movie 'Shadows of the past', Seagal handed over a convoy of goods from an auction to raise funds for the victims of a flood that hit Romania a month ago. REUTERS/Mihai Barbu

An aerial view showing the Mattequartier neighborhood, bottom left, in Bern, Switzerland, being completely surround by flood water, on Tuesday, August 23rd, 2005. Following several days of continuous rainfall the lowest areas of the Swiss capital are flooded while the level of the River Aare keeps rising. (AP Photo/Keystone, Alessandro della Valle)

An aerial view shows the Mattequartier neighborhood in Bern, Switzerland, completely surrounded by flood water, on Tuesday, August 23rd, 2005. (AP Photo/Keystone, Alessandro della Valle)

The flooded banks of the Reuss river in Lucerne. Swiss authorities continued to evacuate residents from flood-stricken areas as rescue workers battled to remove debris that threatened dams and bridges even as the waters subsided.(AFP/Bruno Ferrandez)

An aerial view of the flooded Austrian ski resort of Lech am Arlberg, Austria August 23, 2005. Lakes and rivers burst their banks after days of fierce downpours across Switzerland, Austria and Germany, cutting off roads, power and communications from hundreds of communities. In Austria, the death toll rose to three on Wednesday and a fourth person was missing, feared drowned, police said. In Austria, an emergency cabinet meeting pledged swift aid to homeowners and farmers while flood waters receded after the rain petered out in the hardest hit provinces of Vorarlberg and Tyrol, bordering Switzerland and Bavaria. Picture taken August 23rd, 2005. REUTERS/Miro Kuzmanovic

An aerial view of the destroyed road which cut off the Paznauntal valley in the western part of Austria, Wednesday, August 24th, 2005. Floods and landslides swept the western parts of Austria.(AP Photo/Kerstin Joennson)

Aerial view shows a flooded area in Ulm-Wiblingen on Wednesday, August 24th, 2005. Rescue workers, some using helicopters, evacuated hundreds of people Tuesday from flood-stricken areas of Austria and southern Germany and built sandbag barriers along swollen rivers as heavy rains and landslides battered central and southern Europe. (AP Photo/Luftbildverlag H. Bertram)

The aerial view shows a flooded part of Neu-Ulm, southern Germany, Wednesday, Aug. 24, 2005. Rescue workers, some using helicopters, evacuated hundreds of people Tuesday from flood-stricken areas of Austria and southern Germany and built sandbag barriers along swollen rivers as heavy rains and landslides battered central and southern Europe. (AP Photo/Daniel Maurer)

The aerial view shows a flooded part of a motorway in Neu-Ulm, southern Germany, Wednesday, Aug. 24, 2005. Rescue workers, some using helicopters, evacuated hundreds of people Tuesday from flood-stricken areas of Austria and southern Germany and built sandbag barriers along swollen rivers as heavy rains and landslides battered central and southern Europe. (AP Photo/Daniel Maurer)

An aerial view shows the collapsed road to Engelberg, central Switzerland, August 23rd, 2005. Three people died and hundreds of people were evacuated from their homes overnight as Switzerland struggled with flooding after days of torrential rainfall in the northern Alps. REUTERS/Andreas Meier

Aerial view shows the flooded centre of the southern Bavarian village of Eschenlohe about 50 km (31 miles) south of Munich August 23, 2005. The village of Eschenlohe was partially evacuated after the river Loisach flooded the southern Bavarian region of Garmisch-Partenkirchen due to heavy rain. REUTERS/Stringer

An aerial view shows the flooded Lachen stadium in Thun, Switzerland, August 23, 2005. Hundreds of people were evacuated from their homes overnight as Switzerland struggled with flooding after days of torrential rainfall in the northern Alps. REUTERS/Pascal Lauener

An aerial view shows an ICE train at the flooded train station in Interlaken Ost, Switzerland August 23rd, 2005. Hundreds of people were evacuated from their homes overnight as Switzerland struggled with flooding after days of torrential rainfall in the northern Alps. REUTERS/Pascal Lauener

n aerial view shows a house damaged by a landslide near Entlebuch in central Switzerland August 22rd, 2005. Torrential rain for nearly three days unleashed landslides and floods which cut off villages and killed two firefighters. Weather forecasts said the rain in Switzerland was set to continue until late Monday. REUTERS/Andreas Meier


1 posted on 08/25/2005 10:01:46 PM PDT by M. Espinola
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To: M. Espinola

Sad pictures. Europe is so beautiful.


2 posted on 08/25/2005 10:06:32 PM PDT by Cecily
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To: Cecily
"Sad pictures. Europe is so beautiful."

I know what you mean. More examples of the uncontrolled power of water.

3 posted on 08/25/2005 10:09:57 PM PDT by M. Espinola (Freedom is never free)
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To: M. Espinola

Fort Lauderdale and Miami may look like that tomorrow.


4 posted on 08/25/2005 10:12:38 PM PDT by Palladin (America! America! God shed His grace on Thee.)
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To: Palladin
Photos indicating effects of what could result in some serious flooding in various locations throughout Southern Fla.

A man crosses a empty street in South Beach under heavy rain as tropical storm Katrina hits Miami, Florida, August 25th, 2005. Katrina strengthened into a hurricane from a tropical storm on Thursday and deluged Florida's densely populated southeast coast with rain, heightening fears of flooding. REUTERS/Carlos Barria

This satellite image released by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) shows Katrina near the east coast of Florida. Hurricane Katrina slammed ashore in storm-wary Florida, killing at least two people, uprooting trees and leaving hundreds of thousands of residents without power.(AFP/NOAA-HO)

A man and his dog struggle to cross the street as rain and gusty winds pick up as the effects of Hurricane Katrina are felt in Miami Beach, Fla., Thursday, Aug. 25, 2005. Katrina is expected to make overnight landfall on Florida's densely populated southeast coast Thursday night. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

5 posted on 08/25/2005 10:35:29 PM PDT by M. Espinola (Freedom is never free)
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To: M. Espinola

Pray for all victims of the weather tonight


6 posted on 08/25/2005 10:39:55 PM PDT by Owl558 (Support the Troops)
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To: Owl558

Agreed. It's been a rough month for many people.


7 posted on 08/25/2005 10:45:02 PM PDT by M. Espinola (Freedom is never free)
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To: M. Espinola
Dear Lord! This is the first I've heard of this!

I have cousins that live SE of Munich in a house right next to a fairly large creek. (That's the only house they, both college educated with great jobs, could afford. Real estate prices in Germany are insane.) This doesn't sound good at all. There is no way this didn't effect them.

Last summer my in-laws in Florida got pounded bad, now this. Nature doesn't mess around.

8 posted on 08/25/2005 11:16:04 PM PDT by lizma
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To: lizma
I should have been more on top of this enormous weather related news story much earlier, but with all the other breaking news concerning Gaza, Iran.. etc.

It's really incredible, the horrible fires in northern Portugal have scorched 180,000 hectares (444,600 acres) of land, to the massive broad based flooding throughout central & southeastern Europe.

This article speaks of the Munich area: Bavarian towns cut off, evacuated due to floods (August 23rd, 2005)

A man passes a street hit by floods from the Loisach river in Eschenlohe, southern Germany.

A rescuer fixes cables to the car of a 72-year-old woman stranded in her car in a river near St. Leonhard, Austria. The woman suffered shock but no injuries and her car was saved.

Much of Ulm-Wiblingen lies under water

Soldiers carry sandbags to reinforce a dam near Freising, southern Germany, where floods were expected Wednesday.

Villagers walk on a road damaged when a river burst its banks in Villard-Bonnot, southeastern France.

Firefighters move residents to safety in Cesky Tesin in the Czech Republic.

An empty railway track after a train was derailed by floods in Austria.

Below are some other updates:

Residents evacuated as flooding hits Swiss capital (Scotsman)

Toll of death rising with worst floods for century (The Times)

Floods death toll reaches 42

On top of the fires & floods Paris apartment fire kills 17

9 posted on 08/26/2005 12:05:58 AM PDT by M. Espinola (Freedom is never free)
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To: M. Espinola
Please don't apologize.

Remember when we were told about the heat wave in Europe and all the deaths a few years ago? What amazes me is that this summer their suffering takes a back seat to the left anointed, rage filled, "earth mother".

Is the MSM that full of hate that they could turn their backs on other's suffering to further their agenda? Seems so.

10 posted on 08/26/2005 12:58:58 AM PDT by lizma
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To: lizma
"Is the MSM that full of hate that they could turn their backs on other's suffering to further their agenda? Seems so."

Their agenda is far more absorbed in saving a tree or a rare mosquito, then a baby's life.

11 posted on 08/26/2005 1:08:41 AM PDT by M. Espinola (Freedom is never free)
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To: M. Espinola

Ach, du liebe! I am horrified. My home for 10 years will always have a special place in my heart no matter what stupid political ideas many European people have. May G-d save those in danger.


12 posted on 08/26/2005 1:15:17 AM PDT by Yaelle
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To: M. Espinola

Any word on if it's america's fault,for not signing onto the global warming treaty?


13 posted on 08/26/2005 1:18:20 AM PDT by Mrs.Nooseman
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To: Yaelle

Those stupid political ideas rooted in Europe have already brought about two world wars.


14 posted on 08/26/2005 1:31:24 AM PDT by M. Espinola (Freedom is never free)
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To: Mrs.Nooseman
I am waiting for Spain's version of Mr Bean, 'Zappy', to somehow lay blame at the White House's doorstep.


15 posted on 08/26/2005 1:36:59 AM PDT by M. Espinola (Freedom is never free)
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To: Yaelle
May G-d hold back the waters from those already suffering in effected areas.
16 posted on 08/26/2005 1:38:15 AM PDT by M. Espinola (Freedom is never free)
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To: M. Espinola

http://news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/afp/20050824/wl_afp/europeweather_050824173809


The continent should expect more severe and frequent rainfall because of global warming, according to the UN office, and this will become a "constant challenge for governments".


17 posted on 08/26/2005 2:10:11 AM PDT by maggief (No 'luffs)
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To: M. Espinola
Thank you for posting this. I had completely missed this event.

It appears that some insurers are going to have to dig into their reserves.

18 posted on 08/26/2005 2:24:08 AM PDT by snowsislander
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To: maggief
Thanks for the link.

This time the U.N. guy did not blame America but 'global warming'.

Someone should really inform this schnook it happens every summer (global warming) in fact I can hardly wait until it's over with the onset of late September when the Autumn foliage gets under way.

19 posted on 08/26/2005 3:47:58 AM PDT by M. Espinola (Freedom is never free)
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To: snowsislander
I wonder how flood insurance functions in the E.U., if it is included on the overall policy for homeowners, or is one required to purchase a completely separate policy solely for possible damaging effects of flooding?

Millions of people have had some sort of damage caused by this massive flooding in a numerous European nations, from France, Switzerland, Germany, Slovenia to Bulgaria & on & on.

20 posted on 08/26/2005 3:56:13 AM PDT by M. Espinola (Freedom is never free)
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To: M. Espinola; Admin Moderator
great pics, but needs to be retitled to warn low bandwith folks that there is HEAVY GRAPHICS!

Prayer bump

21 posted on 08/26/2005 4:19:02 AM PDT by pageonetoo (You'll spot their posts soon enough!)
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To: M. Espinola

Dunno about mainland Europe but in the UK flood would normally be covered by a household building insurance policy.

However, insurers are increasingly excluding flood damage for houses in flood-prone areas, which is a severe problem for homeowners in large parts of the country.


22 posted on 08/26/2005 4:26:51 AM PDT by Killing Time
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To: M. Espinola

Just dam - the stupid rivers.


23 posted on 08/26/2005 4:32:56 AM PDT by babble-on
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To: Yaelle

"My home for 10 years will always have a special place in my heart no matter what stupid political ideas many European people have. May G-d save those in danger."

I'm sure politics is the furthest thing from these folk's minds right now. I went through a flood some years ago here in California. They are worse than earthquakes in that floods go on and on while quakes happen all at once. Either way you pray only that people are safe.


24 posted on 08/26/2005 9:13:17 AM PDT by Owl558 (Support the Troops)
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To: M. Espinola

I hope they are wearing LanceStrong rubber bands.


25 posted on 08/26/2005 9:18:45 AM PDT by ideablitz (Helping to push frontier of ignorance.)
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To: Killing Time
Thanks for the information on flood insurance in the E.U. & Great Britain.

A lot of people are going to be in need of assistance, in S. Florida as well.

26 posted on 08/26/2005 1:07:03 PM PDT by M. Espinola (Freedom is never free)
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To: M. Espinola

Shouldn't that one read, "Residents move fireman to safety?"


27 posted on 08/26/2005 1:17:28 PM PDT by tet68 ( " We would not die in that man's company, that fears his fellowship to die with us...." Henry V.)
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To: tet68
"Shouldn't that one read, "Residents move fireman to safety?"

I can see your point, but he is the captian directing the voyage from atop his ship :)

28 posted on 08/26/2005 1:24:41 PM PDT by M. Espinola (Freedom is never free)
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To: M. Espinola

You're welcome.


29 posted on 08/27/2005 9:07:24 AM PDT by Killing Time
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