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Central Europe Flooding Renew Rock M T*

[Comment to wife in the morning.]

SEPTEMBER 01, 19:51 ET

New Flooding Hits Central Europe

AP/Andrzej Howalczuk [32K]


BERLIN (AP) — Areas of Germany hit hard by last month's flooding were back under water Sunday after rainstorms deluged the east of the country and parts of Switzerland, the Czech Republic and Poland.

The overnight downpour flooded Dresden, Chemnitz and other parts of the German state of Saxony, where thousands of people are still cleaning up from the overflowing Elbe River.

Landslides also blocked roads in Saxony and the Baden-Wuerttemberg state.

In Switzerland, three people died in a house buried by a landslide set off by flooding.

In southwestern Poland, dozens of people were evacuated from their homes Sunday after torrential rain swelled mountain rivers and flooded villages, firefighters said.

Poland hadn't been affected by the high water that caused billions in damage across Europe last month.

Rain turned the Strzegomka, Lesko and Pelcznica rivers into roaring torrents, causing flooding near the city of Walbrzych, 260 miles southwest of Warsaw, and nearby Swiebodzic.

``The situation is very difficult and bad,'' said Dariusz Budkiewicz, deputy head of the fire department in nearby Swidnica. ``Our teams are pumping water from flooded farms and evacuating people.''

Many people in the area fled their farms as the water levels rose Sunday, flooding roads and rail tracks. Firefighters strengthened dikes around a lake which threatened to overflow and flood the city of Dobromierz.

With warm, dry weather expected over much of Europe in the coming days, leaders are focusing on how to repair damage estimated at over $19.6 billion, with most of the burden falling on Germany.

European Union foreign ministers meeting Saturday in Helsingoer, Denmark, approved a European disaster fund of $491 million. EU applicants Czech Republic and Slovakia affected by the flooding will also be able to draw on the fund.

The German government has begun releasing funds from a hastily assembled package worth about $9.8 billion to help residents and businesses get back onto their feet.

The German Chamber of Industry and Commerce estimated Saturday that 2,500 businesses were destroyed and as many as 18,000 more were damaged by the floodwaters.

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