Danube rises in Romania, evacuations continue

The River Danube rose Tuesday reaching record levels at an eastern port, and thousands more residents were evacuated from areas threatened by the surging waters of Europe's second longest river.

By early Tuesday, 2,800 residents had been evacuated from the village of Sarata in western Romania, and authorities helping residents leave their homes in Bistret and two other communities. About 10,000 are expected to be forced from their homes because of the floods.

President Traian Basescu visited the area Monday and urged residents to listen to authorities and leave the area, after dikes in the area broke. The army sent trucks to help residents transport their possessions.

"We continued to evacuate people last night," Nicolae Giugea, a government official in the area told Romania's Mediafax news agency. He said an estimate of the damage caused by flooding could be made after the waters had subsided.

Evacuated residents were staying with friends and relatives, as well as in tents, schools and other buildings. About 300 school pupils from the flood-stricken village of Rast resumed classes on Tuesday at a school 20 kilometers (12 miles) away.

In eastern port of Galati, the river rose to 6.6 meters (21.7 feet), four centimeters (1.7 inches) higher than the 1897 record, and slightly higher than on Monday. Specialists from Romanian's Water Company said water levels along the Danube would vary in the next few days, rising in some places and shrinking in others.

Also in eastern Romania, about 450 residents were forced to leave their homes in the village of Oltina. About 50 houses have been flooded there after cracks appeared in a dike.

Prime Minister Calin Popescu Tariceanu was to meet ministers late Tuesday to discuss the flooding situation.

Flooding along the Danube has badly affected Romania, Bulgaria, Serbia and Hungary in the last two weeks, reports the AP.


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