Deaths in Polish floods hit 15, peak heads north | world | Hindustan Times
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Deaths in Polish floods hit 15, peak heads north

The death toll from the worst floods to hit Poland in over a decade reached 15 today, as flood waters spread towards the north of the country and burst through a dyke, officials said.

world Updated: May 24, 2010 19:29 IST

The death toll from the worst floods to hit Poland in over a decade reached 15 on Monday, as flood waters spread towards the north of the country and burst through a dyke, officials said.

Heavy rain has caused damage estimated at more than 2 billion euros ($2.5 billion) over the last week, forcing the evacuation of thousands of people from their homes along the Vistula river, which flows from the southern Tatra mountains into the Baltic.

The situation was particularly bad on Monday in the village of Swiniary, 80 km (50 miles) northwest of Warsaw, where water from the Vistula punched a 50-metre-long hole in a dyke.

"Emergency services have blown up the river embankment below the hole to help the water return to the riverbed," Interior Ministry spokeswoman Malgorzata Wozniak said. "The flood barriers in many parts of Poland are in a very poor condition now after days of inundation."

Embankments were also blown up over the weekend in the town of Sandomierz in southern Poland to relieve conditions there.

Wozniak said landslides in southern parts of Poland, which have borne the brunt of the flood damage, were particularly dangerous, but water levels there had started to fall. Many areas there remain under water, she added.

"As the water has started falling, rescuers have found the bodies of people who had been declared missing," Wozniak said. "The wave is moving north so we have already reassigned units of firemen and heavy equipment there to be ready when it comes."