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Flood toll rises to 13 in Czech Republic

HEAVY rain swept the southern Czech Republic yesterday causing further flooding and bringing the death toll to 13, rescue teams and Czech media reported.

Meteorologists said rains would continue into the week, keeping the east and southwest of the central European country on flood warning until Wednesday.

"The most serious situation now is in the southern Bohemia, there is a state of emergency as of this (Sunday) morning," a spokeswoman for the Czech Fire Rescue Brigade said.

Television images showed collapsed houses, destroyed roads and cars mangled by high and fast-flowing water. Some towns in the south were cut off after swollen rivers flooded roads.

Power supplies were cut in some areas. Hundreds of people have been evacuated.

Around 750 firefighters and hundreds of soldiers were helping rescue and cleanup crews in the regions affected by sudden heavy rainstorms, swelling rivers and creeks within minutes, surprising people in dozens of villages and towns.

Meteorologists said the ground, swollen by previous rains in many areas, could not hold water, and officials warned further rain would quickly raise river levels again.

A witness said people and rescue workers were piling bags of sand to protect against rising water in the flooded areas in the southern Czech Republic.

Early damage estimates already run in the high tens of millions of US dollars according to local media reports.

The Czech Republic, a country of 10.5 million, has seen more frequent flooding in recent years.


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