Flash floods strike central Europe, killing at least 15
- 9 August 2010
- From the section Europe
Flash floods brought on by rains in central Europe and the Baltic have killed at least 15, officials say.
Rivers overflowed their banks, sending torrents of water through Bogatynia in south-west Poland and Goerlitz in eastern Germany.
The Neisse river, on the border with Poland, reached its highest recorded level in Goerlitz.
Three Poles, three Germans and five Czechs were killed, while further north in Lithuania four people were killed.
Three other Czechs were reported missing after the downpours on Saturday triggered the floods.
The army, police and fire services were using helicopters and boats to move people away from the flood zones and clear flood debris.
The heavy downpour caused Poland's Miedzianka river to overflow, flooding Bogatynia before swelling the Niesse river.
One woman drowned in Bogatynia while a 55-year-old firefighter was swept away when a dyke burst its banks.
Another woman drowned in the nearby town of Zgorzelec, across the Niesse from Goerlitz.
The Neisse reached its highest recorded level of 7.07 metres (23 feet).
"The flood wave hit the town in a few hours. We couldn't do anything to get ready for that," the mayor of Goerlitz, Michael Wieler, told German TV.
Police said 1,500 people evacuated their homes in Goerlitz as torrents of water rushed through the streets.
Further west, near Chemnitz, three Germans were found drowned in the flooded cellar of the building they lived in in Neukirchen, near the Czech border.
Police said they had been trying to carry furniture upstairs.
An additional five people drowned over the weekend in the Czech Republic where people were plucked by helicopter from the roofs of their homes in the towns of Chrastava and Frydlant.
As the storms moved north, four people were killed in Lithuania. Two campers died when a tree collapsed on their tent, local media reported.
The same region was hit by heavy flooding in May and June this year, killing nearly 30 people.
Poland's Prime Minister Donald Tusk has promised emergency aid payouts to help people affected by the floods.