Hundreds evacuated as more villages flooded in
U.S. Water News Online
WARSAW, Poland -- Another 1,800 Polish villagers were
evacuated recently as the floodwater that has swamped much of the
south of the country overwhelmed dikes as it surged downstream,
emergency services said.
Some 25 people have been killed by the floods and violent storms
in Poland in July, including 12 since the situation worsened in the
south last week. Thousands have been forced out of their homes.
In the latest rescue operation, people were moved by boat, bus and
private car from six villages flooded after the Vistula river broke a
40-yard hole in saturated dikes in Zalesie Gorzyckie and a tributary
broke out near Zlota, about 130 miles south of Warsaw.
No one was hurt, said Stanislaw Gacek, fire chief in the nearby
city of Sandomierz, though some 50 houses were flooded and the
region's main railway tracks were damaged. More than 12,000 acres of
farmland were hidden under murky brown water.
Some 3,000 people were evacuated from Sandomierz, which so far has
escaped inundation. About 1,000 firefighters and soldiers were
helping local residents to strengthen dikes with sandbags.
Prime Minister Jerzy Buzek visited the area, drawing abuse from
residents angry at what they saw as insufficient financial help from
``Where is the money that you collect from us in tax and for water
control?'' a woman screamed at him in flooded Trzesnia, according to
Polish news agency PAP.
Buzek, who already pledged immediate aid to the victims, said they
may also need counseling to cope with their losses.
Gacek warned that the wave of floodwater moving downstream was
bigger than in the disastrous 1997 flood and that rivers might breach
their banks in other places. But he said the work on the dikes should
mean fewer leaks.
``The water is receding, the situation is stabilizing, but we
still have a lot of trouble and work to do,'' he said.
Additional help could come from drier weather setting in across
Storms and torrential rains have swept across Poland since July
10., flooding property in the Baltic port city of Gdansk and sweeping
away houses in southern Poland.
The floods are the worst since the summer of 1997, when storms and
rampaging rivers swamped 46,000 homes, killed 55 people and caused an
estimated $3.4 billion in damage.
The German Interior Ministry said 45 German experts equipped with
water purification equipment and power generators have arrived near
the southern Polish city of Krakow to help in the relief effort.
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