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Record-high rivers cause flooding in central Europe

Torrential rain has caused rivers to break their banks in central Europe leaving towns and cities under several feet of water.

Parts of the Czech Republic, Germany, Austria, Hungary and Poland have reported serious flooding, with water levels reaching record highs.

The statue of world harmony leader Sri Chinmoy has become part of the Vltava river in Prague Credit: REUTERS/David W Cerny

The Czech government has drafted in 300 soldiers to help bolster flood defences after the river Vltava broke its banks.

Flooded houses next to river Steyr are pictured during heavy rainfall in the small Austrian city of Steyr Credit: REUTERS/Leonhard Foeger

Local media cited the head of Hungary's National Disaster Authority as saying that water levels in the Danube could exceed the height seen in the record flooding in 2002.

The town of Passau in southern Germany is seeing some of the worst flooding in 70 years.

Emergency workers travel by boat along a flooded street in the centre of the Austrian town of Melk Credit: REUTERS/Leonhard Foeger

Rivers approach highest level in 70 years in Passau

Raging waters from three rivers have flooded large parts of the south-east German town of Passau following days of heavy rainfall in central Europe.

street sign is partially submerged in the flooded centre of the Bavarian town of Passau Credit: REUTERS/Michaela Rehle

A spokesman for the city's crisis centre said the situation was "extremely dramatic" and waters are expected to rise further by midday to their level highest in 70 years.

Much of the city is reportedly only accessible by boat and there are power outages in some areas.

The floodwater has reached the level of this restaurant sign in one part of the town Credit: REUTERS/Michaela Rehle

At least four people have reportedly died and nine are missing due to floods in Germany, Austria, Switzerland and the Czech Republic in recent days.

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Soldiers called in to reinforce Prague flood defences

Czech authorities have been scrambling to reinforce flood defences in Prague as the rising river Vltava threatened to engulf the capital's historic centre after days of heavy rain.

Czech soldiers erect metal barriers next to the medieval Charles bridge Credit: REUTERS/Petr Josek

Prime Minister Petr Necas said 300 soldiers have been deployed to help local authorities and that up to 2,000 have been placed on standby.

A tourist surveys the flooded River Vltava Credit: APTN

The Czech government has declared a state of emergency in six regions that have been badly hit by the flooding, in the western half of the country and Prague.

Thousands of people have had to be relocated from their homes across the country, and a Prague hospital and zoo had to be partially evacuated.

The water in the River Vltava is almost at the level of the city's bridges Credit: APTN

Czech PM sends troops to protect Prague from floods

Czech Prime Minister Petr Necas pledged 300 million Czech crowns ($15 million) to relief efforts and said another 2,000 troops were ready to support the 300 soldiers already helping to erect temporary barriers and pile sandbags in Prague and other areas.

Firefighters remove debris from Netolice creek which flooded the south Bohemian village of Nemcicky. Credit: REUTERS/Petr Josek

"The government approved the declaration of a state of emergency, which will enable a more effective rescue effort," said Necas after an emergency cabinet meeting, adding that there was another 1.3 billion crowns available to help fund the cleanup operation.

The historic area of Prague is a UNESCO heritage site boasting hundreds of well-preserved buildings, churches and monuments dating back centuries, including the Charles Bridge straddling the Vltava that was closed due to high water

Czech emergency declared as floods threaten Prague

Czech Prime Minister Petr Necas declared a state of emergency for most of the nation on Sunday as swollen rivers caused by days of heavy rain threatened Prague's historic centre and forced evacuations from low-lying areas.

Prague authorities limited public transport and planned to close underground stations in the centre of the city as water from the Vltava River overflowed into picturesque areas popular with tourists

The main train line connecting the capital and the east of the country was also shut.

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Euro area unemployment rate rises to 12.2%

The euro area unemployment rate grew to 12.2% in April 2013, up from 12.1% in March, according to the European Union's statistics office Eurostat. Among European Union countries the rate remains at 11%.

  • Greece has the highest rate of unemployment: 27% (as of February)
  • Spain follows closely behind with 26.8% of people out of work
  • Portugal's unemployment rate stands at 17.8%
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