European floods results in 43 people dead

Floodwaters of the River Aare lapped through gardens and houses in an evacuated quarter of the Swiss capital on Friday and authorities moved residents out of their homes in the small, flood-hit Alpine town of Brienz.

The death toll from flooding in Switzerland and other parts of central and eastern Europe rose to 43. Hardest hit was Romania with 31 dead many of whom drowned when torrents of water rushed into their homes. Austria, Bulgaria, Germany and Switzerland reported a total of 12 dead and large areas of the countries remained under water.

In the empty Matte quarter of the capital, Bern, the mangled remains of bicycles still stood where they were deposited by flood waters earlier in the week.

Authorities there were not allowing residents to return because of the danger of more floods as blockages clear further upstream.

But elsewhere in the city life was slowly returning to normal and repairs were under way on the damaged tram network. The soccer players of Thun, a small club which unexpectedly qualified for Europe's premier competition earlier this week, handed out food packages on the streets of the town.

Two of the six people dead in Switzerland were killed in Brienz, where the body of a woman previously reported missing was found near her home Thursday. The dead woman was the mother of the other victim, a teenage girl, Bern cantonal (state) police said. Their house was hit and destroyed by a wave on Tuesday when a swollen lake overflowed.

Mud and debris coat the streets and houses of Brienz, and more than 60 residents will have to remain in local shelters until at least Sunday, the head of the local authority, Peter Flueck, told The Associated Press.

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