Rising Meuse river claims Dutch victim

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The swollen water of the Meuse river in the southern Dutch province of Limburg has claimed its first victim. A man tried to rescue his dog in the town of Linne - south of the city of Roermond - and was swept away by the strong current. His son tried to bring him to safety. Witnesses say the dog was unharmed. Police have cordoned off the area.

The water level in the Meuse river in the southern Dutch province of Limburg will remain high for the coming week, but experts say it's unlikely that the river will burst its banks. On Saturday afternoon, the Meuse reached its peak height as 2,271 cubic metres of water flowed per second through the river as a result of continuing thaw in the nearby hilly Ardennes region in Belgium.

A spokesman from the regional water board - also tasked with flood control - said that the highest water level should reach the city of Venlo on Monday evening. The municipalities of Roermond and Venlo have taken measures in the event of flooding. Sandbags have been piled up in the areas most vulnerable to flooding and certain roads have closed.

The state of emergency called earlier in the towns of Itteren and Borgharen will remain in force until the weekend. Anyone who is not a resident of the towns will be ordered to leave. Ten people have been evacuated from the two towns which suffered considerable flood damage in 1993 and 1995.

In Belgium, there has been widespread flooding as a result of the thaw and persistent, heavy rainfall. The floods have claimed the lives of at least four people. Villages in Germany have also been affected and it's expected that the high water levels there will eventually reach the Netherlands via the River Rhine.

© Radio Netherlands Worldwide

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