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Deadly European flooding moves north into Germany

In this photo provided Tuesday by the German Government Press Office (BPA), German Chancellor Angela Merkel looks out over flooded areas between Dresden and Pirna, Germany.
In this photo provided Tuesday by the German Government Press Office (BPA), German Chancellor Angela Merkel looks out over flooded areas between Dresden and Pirna, Germany.
Steffen Kugler/Bundesregierung-Pool via Getty Images

The European Commission reported an improving situation Wednesday in flood-ravaged Austria and the Czech Republic, but noted that severe flooding is moving north into Germany.

National civil protection authorities in Austria reported that conditions were getting better in the state of Salzburg, where heavy rainfall produced dangerous landslides. The deluge is blamed for the deaths of two Austrians; two others are missing.

The popular tourist city of Salzburg is the capital of the state of Salzburg. The Salzburg Nachrichten newspaper reported that firefighters were working Wednesday to try to keep an earthen dam along the Danube River near the village of Krems from collapsing under the strain of floodwaters. Farther down the Danube, floodwaters in the Austrian capital of Vienna peaked above the high-water mark of 2002.

The European Commission expects Danube flooding to reach the Hungarian capital of Budapest Sunday. Emergency preparations reportedly were underway in the city.

The Slovak Hydrometeoroligical Service declared an emergency for another important city on the Danube, Bratislava.

The death toll from flooding in the Czech Republic stood at eight Wednesday. About 20,000 people were evacuated from their homes, more than half of them in the state of Ustecky, north of Prague. In Prague, the Vitava River was receding and some subway stations that had been closed by flooding were able to reopen.

At least three people have died as a result of flooding in Germany, according to the European Commission. The Elbe River was on the rise, forcing the evacuation of 10,000 people in the state of Saxony. Some of those evacuated were residents of the city of Dresden.

Activity at the Dresden International Airport was normal Wednesday. There are no direct flights from Chicago to Dresden, but there are non-stop flights from many cities that offer direct connections to Chicago, such as Frankfurt, Munich, Barcelona, and London.

German media reported that transportation to the Bavarian town of Deggendorf had been completely cut off by floodwaters from the Danube.

“It is absolute danger to life,” Deggendorf Fire Department Commander Alois Schraufstetter told the German news magazine Spiegel. “Houses are up to three meters [10 feet] in the water.”

He said some residents had not heeded evacuation requests and were now on the roofs of their homes awaiting help.

The A8 motorway between Munich and Salzburg was reopened Wednesday after flooding had forced its closure.

The situation in the Bavarian city of Passau was improving Wednesday, according to the EC, but water levels remained high in many streets.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel toured the hardest hit areas of the county Tuesday. While visiting Saxony, she promised 100 million Euros ($130 million) to help the areas most ravaged by the flood.

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