IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

Flooding across Central Europe turns deadly

Image:A woman pushes her bicycle through a flooded street
The floods in Central Europe have inundated towns like Jesenik nad Odrou, Czech Republic, seen here on Thursday, and are blamed for the deaths of several people.Petr David Josek / AP
/ Source: The Associated Press

Flooding in the eastern Czech Republic after heavy rains has killed at least 10 people, Prime Minister Jan Fischer and officials said Thursday.

Fischer said five people drowned while four others died of health problems while rescuers were struggling to reach them.

The four all had heart problems, rescue authorities said.

Another man drowned in the town of Novy Jicin, police spokeswoman Miroslava Salkova said later Thursday.

Hundreds of people have been evacuated throughout the region and a number of roads and railway lines, including a major track that connects the capital Prague with the eastern Czech Republic and Poland, have been closed as rivers flood their banks.

The country's security council and the government met Thursday to assess the situation. Fischer expressed his sympathy to the people in the affected area.

He said up to 1,000 soldiers will be deployed to help.

Meteorologists expect thunderstorms in the region later in the day but they are not expected to cause more damage.

"There's no imminent danger," Fischer said. "The situation is under control."

The situation remained tense in neighboring Austria Thursday, where driving rain over the past few days caused major flooding in northern, central and eastern parts of the country.

While the water levels of a number of rivers dropped overnight as the downpours diminished, authorities warned that thunderstorms and sporadic showers could cause more problems.

Austria, Poland hit as well
Thousands of firefighters and other rescue crews continued to drain buildings and soaked streets throughout the affected regions. In some places, such as the Medieval town of Steyr in Upper Austria province, cleanup efforts were under way after the water began receding.

In the capital Vienna, the famed Albertina museum began evacuating its storage facility — filled with 950,000 pieces of priceless art — as a precaution after traces of humidity were detected.

In southern Poland, heavy rains flooded rail tracks, forcing the closure of the station in Czechowice-Dziedzice, a town south of the coal mining center of Katowice.

The nearby major national road was also temporarily closed after the Wisla river overflowed.

Firefighters were pumping water from hundreds of flooded basements of private houses, offices and hospitals in the south and also in the city of Olsztyn, in the north.

More on Czech Republic  |  Austria