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Flooding in Southern Germany Worsens

May 26, 1999

NEUSTADT, Germany (AP) _ Hundreds of residents were evacuated by boat or took to the high ground Tuesday when a dam broke, aggravating already severe flooding in southern Germany.

The army urgently transported sandbags to the Neustadt area, and nearly 200 soldiers piled them high to reinforce weakened dikes. Officials said a second dam was saturated and threatened to burst.

The flood wave continued its path along southern Germany’s Danube River for a fourth day after severe rains triggered some of the worst floods in Bavaria state in decades. At least five people were killed over the weekend in Germany, Austria and Switzerland.

Officials estimated overall property damage at more than $1 billion. The state Environment Ministry said that a total of 30,000 acres of land had been inundated, with some 100,000 people adversely affected.

While Neustadt, a town of 10,000, was hit particularly hard, the wave later passed harmlessly through Regensburg, 20 miles to the northeast. Officials expected few problems when it reaches Passau near the Czech border.

In Neustadt, emergency crews evacuated 80 residents of a home for the elderly overnight, and officials ordered 1,700 residents to leave their homes as brackish flood waters rose to second-floor levels. Some made it to safety, but others merely moved upstairs, waiting for help or for the waters to recede.

Elsewhere, Lake Constance, already at a hundred-year high continued to rise, while river levels were sinking in southern Baden-Wuerttemberg state.

Update hourly