East Europe Floods Lead to Mass Evacuation

July 31, 2014

Three people died and several hundreds were forced to evacuate as surging floodwaters submerged villages in Eastern Europe on Tuesday.

In Bulgaria, authorities said a 61-year-old woman died in the floods and another person was reported missing after torrential rains hit the region of Gabrovo in the central parts of the country.

Two people, including a 72-year-old man, also drowned in Romania as floods raged in different regions, said Interior Minister Gabriel Oprea. A passenger train derailed in the same area after a small bridge caved in due to flooding, but there were no immediate reports of injuries, the national railway said.

Seventy Bulgarian villages and parts of the city of Gabrovo were left without electricity and water supply was disrupted as the flooding destroyed some of the water and sewerage infrastructure. The rains also induced landslides and destroyed bridges, and many roads in the region were blocked by mud and debris.

Ion Manta, deputy mayor of the southwest Romanian town Novaci, said 500 people had been evacuated from three villages there and some 75 houses were cut off by floods after the River Gilort burst its banks. A local government official said waters reached 3 meters (10 feet).

The Romanian government sent three helicopters to flooded areas in the foothills of the Parang mountains and the army dispatched dozens of troops to help with rescue efforts. Prime Minister Victor Ponta, accompanied by aides, arrived in the area in the afternoon.

Forecasters issued the red code weather warnings for both Bulgaria and Romania Tuesday.

Romania has had its wettest summer in years and the heavy rainfall has also caused several flash floods in eastern Bulgaria, the heaviest in the Black Sea resort city of Varna in June when 13 people were killed.

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