Flooding cuts power to over 2,000 homes in C.Europe

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Power was cut to more than 2,000 homes Monday in Poland and the Czech Republic after torrential rains caused deadly flooding and extensive damage over the weekend, authorities said.

Three people were killed Saturday and dozens of homes were destroyed by flood waters on the the Miedzianka river in Bogatynia, in south-western Poland's Lower Silesia region.

"Some 1,200 homes are still without power, material losses are enormous," the region's governor Rafal Jurkowlaniec told reporters on Monday.

A flood crest on the Neisse river surged north Monday, along the Polish-German border.

"This wave has become longer, lessening the danger of flooding," even though it is still above flood alert levels, Jurkowlaniec said.

In the northern Czech Republic, power was cut to 900 homes Monday and a further 4,000 had no gas. Flooding killed four people in the Czech Republic this weekend, while three people were missing.

The Czech government held a special session Monday to assess the situation and decide on measures to help the victims.

"We want to tackle this problem very rapidly. Urgent aid is already being provided," Prime Minister Petr Necas told reporters Monday.

"With immediate effect, we have decided to release about 40 million koruna (1.6 million euros, 2.1 million dollars), which will land on the accounts of the Liberec region tomorrow," he said.

"This is emergency money necessary above all for municipalities in the region which must buy drinking water, food, detergents... it will also be used to renew key roads and bridges, buy fuels for fire brigades," Necas said.

For all affected areas, the government may decide to initially release an amount "of 300-350 million koruna on Wednesday".

The northern Liberec region on Monday raised damage estimates to four billion koruna, bringing total recent damage estimates in the Czech Republic to six billion koruna.

Flooding also caused the death of three people Saturday near Chemnitz, south-eastern Germany.

Devastating floods in May and June left 22 dead in Poland and six in the Czech Republic.

The European Commission gave the green light Monday to state aid granted in Poland to offset the damage caused by those floods.

© 2010 AFP

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