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Rising waters

May 22, 2010

Flooding in Poland continued over the weekend with the death toll rising to 12. Water levels also rose in Brandenburg, although authorities do not expect the worst to arrive until next week.

Cars submerged by flood waters in Poland
The worst of the flooding in Poland may be yet to comeImage: picture alliance/dpa

Authorities in the eastern German state of Brandenburg warned residents of rising water levels in the coming days as the death toll from flooding in Poland rose to at least 12.

Speaking after a meeting of his crisis task force, Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk said that "the floods are not yet over" and that the danger in some areas was likely to rise.

Flood barriers have broken in two separate spots in Wroclaw, Poland's fourth largest city, submerging neighborhoods and forcing rescue workers to evacuate thousands of residents. The northern towns of Plock and Wloclawek located along the Vistula River were also at risk as the high waters traveled north.

Barriers in Warsaw were holding, although the capital saw water levels reaching 7.74 meters (25.4 feet) on Saturday - just short of the eight-meter mark when authorities must prepare emergency services.

Forecasters do not expect the flood waters to start receding before Tuesday.

Floods slowly reach Germany

Rescue workers on a boat on a flooded street
Some areas in southern Poland were forced to evacuate residentsImage: picture alliance/dpa

Much of the worst flooding has come from the Oder River, which forms part of the German-Polish border. Brandenburg's flood warning center on Saturday raised its alarm system to level one, on a scale of four, as the flooding reached German territory later than expected.

Water levels in the low-lying German village of Stuetzkow rose overnight by eight centimeters to 7.78 meters, according to a spokesman for the center.

German authorities decided not to limit boat transit along the Oder for the time being, but they said flooding was expected to reach its high point on Wednesday or Thursday next week.

Editor: Martin Kuebler