As northern Poland prepared on Tuesday for the arrival of a flood wave that has so far claimed the lives of 16 people, the government pledged assistance to victims to help them repair or rebuild their homes.

The flood wave, which formed in southern Poland along the Vistula River after days of heavy rain, has travelled along the river up north and reached the province of Pomerania, located on the Baltic coast.

The death toll for the flooding reached 16 on Tuesday after a 13—year—old girl drowned in the Vistula River in Pulawy, eastern Poland. A man working on a flood barrier nearby tried to rescue the girl, but the current was too strong and carried her away.

Firefighters later recovered her body.

Firefighters and police worked through the night into Tuesday in the town of Tczew, in the north of the country, putting up flood barriers. Some 11 people were evacuated from the nearby town of Gniew, at their own request, as the flood risk increased.

Prime Minister Donald Tusk pledged 2 billion zloty (586.8 million dollars) on Tuesday to aid flood victims in a long—term effort that would allow them to fix or rebuild homes, he said. The payments would be up to 6,000 zloty per family, Mr. Tusk said, adding that many had already claimed the aid.

“We do not want to save money, and we will not try to save money when it comes to aid to flood victims,” Mr. Tusk said. Aid would come from budget reserves and could be given without amending this year’s budget, he added.

Rescue efforts were continuing in central Poland.

The village of Dobrzykow continued efforts to strengthen a barrier of sand bags. Some 25 communities would be threatened if the barriers broke.

The nearby towns of Slubice and Gabin were continuing to evacuate some 4,000 people left underwater when a barrier broke there on Monday.

Another 400 were evacuated on Monday night from a neighbourhood in Plock, central Poland, due to the increasing threat of flooding.

Russia is to deliver 14 tons of aid to the flood—stricken regions on Tuesday, including water pumps, boats and mobile power plants, Russian state agency RIA Novosti reported.

It is the first time Poland has asked the Kremlin for help since the two countries signed an aid agreement in 1993, Russia’s Emergency Situations Ministry said.

Pope Benedict XVI sent 50,000 euros (61,000 dollars) to help the victims of the nationwide flooding, the Polish Press Agency reported.

Water levels were falling in Warsaw, where they dropped to 7.18 metres on Tuesday morning after peaking late Saturday at 7.7 metres.

Rescue workers added more sandbags to a barrier at a river port in the city that came under threat on Sunday.

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