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Hungary Declares Flood Disaster

April 9, 2000

BUDAPEST, Hungary (AP) _ The government has declared parts of eastern Hungary a disaster area, allowing the release of funding to combat floods, state-run radio reported Sunday.

Hungary’s second largest river, the Tisza, and several tributaries have been flooding large tracts of land, destroying many homes and threatening hundreds of others. Hundreds of residents have been evacuated.

The Minister of Transport, Communications and Water Management, Kalman Katona, was appointed government commissioner at a Cabinet session Saturday to oversee and coordinate all efforts.

Katona said Saturday that the government would cover the ``required and justifiable″ costs related to flood prevention, estimated at $39 million, the state news agency MTI reported.

About 1,700 miles of dikes need to be reinforced to contain the floods, Katona said.

Hungary’s armed forces were placed on alert in order to mobilize quickly if necessary. Interior Minister Sandor Pinter said Saturday that the water level of the Tisza may surpass previous record highs.

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