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Updated: May 24, 2010 18:44 IST

Flooding overwhelms Polish communities, 14 dead

DPA
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Emergency service workers reinforce a barrier with sandbags against dangerously high water on the right bank of the Vistula river in Warsaw on Sunday. Photo: AP.
Emergency service workers reinforce a barrier with sandbags against dangerously high water on the right bank of the Vistula river in Warsaw on Sunday. Photo: AP.

Floods overwhelmed 18 Polish communities on Monday, in a region some 100 kilometres north—west of Warsaw after part of a protective flood barrier near the town of Plock broke the day before.

The death toll had risen to 14, the police said on Monday, as flooding that began last week in southern Poland spread to the rest of the country.

An area of 8,000 hectares was underwater near Plock, forcing the evacuation of 4,000 people and 5,000 animals.

There were concerns that 10,000 residents of the towns of Gabin and Slubice could also be threatened by floodwaters from the river Vistula, said Ivetta Bialy, spokeswoman for the central Masovian province.

About 800 cubic metres of water a second were pouring through the breach at Plock, officials said. The opening, initially 50 metres long, had stretched to 200 metres.

About 32 tons of debris were thrown into the breach overnight on Sunday into Monday. Hundreds of firefighters and soldiers have been mobilized.

Tensions also remained high in Warsaw, where some 120 schools and kindergartens were shut and one major thoroughfare was closed amid flooding dangers.

Water levels in Warsaw would lower on Wednesday morning to 6.5 metres — the alarm level — the interior ministry said at a conference. The floods would end between May 30 and June 6, if there was no more heavy rain, the ministry added.

Some 4,200 soldiers taking part in rescue efforts throughout the country, army officials said.

The Vistula’s levels have receded since Sunday, but dykes remain under threat of collapse due to the continuing water pressure.

Keywords: Polandfloodscasualties

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