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Flash Floods Hit Central Europe

July 23, 1998

WARSAW, Poland (AP) _ Flash floods swept through three countries in Central Europe, killing at least 10 people and forcing the evacuation of dozens of others, local officials and media reported Thursday.

In southwestern Poland, floodwaters inundated a resort area, killing seven people and damaging more than 100 houses in three small towns near the Czech border, a provincial government spokesman said.

About 90 residents were evacuated and although waters receded quickly, residents were evacuated by helicopter Thursday morning, the provincial government said.

The wave was not very high, reaching about one yard above the ground floor of the houses. But it came through fast and with great force, causing a lot of damage, said Piotr Michalski, a spokesman for Walbrzych province.

Floods in Poland last summer killed 55 people, swamped 46,000 homes and caused an estimated $3.4 billion in damage.

In the Czech Republic, three people were killed in floods in villages about 75 miles east of Prague, Czech television said.

And in eastern Slovakia, some 50 people are still missing after flash floods that killed 36 earlier this week.

Officials fear many of the missing died when a sudden downpour flooded the Sabinov district of eastern Slovakia late Monday, causing water levels in local streams to rise about 6 1/2 yards in a matter of hours, said Emil Alaxy, a district spokesman. The flood wiped out area roads and bridges, trapping dozens of victims.

``Its very likely that, in panic, many ran away to other villages and they don’t feel the need to register with the authorities,″ Alaxy said.

The Czech daily Pravo quoted Slovak officials Thursday as saying that water in the local streams had hit the highest levels in 500 years.

Worst hit was the village of Jarovnice, some 250 miles northeast of the capital, Bratislava. Most of the victims were Gypsies, also known as Roma, who lived in a settlement of shacks that were completely washed away.

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