Hungary evacuates 2,000 people as precaution against floods

BUDAPEST Fri Jun 7, 2013 3:58pm EDT

1 of 6. Soldiers cover themselves from a military helicopter's downwash as it lowers sandbags to help reinforce a dike along the swollen Danube River near Gyor, 130 km (81 miles) west of Budapest June 7, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Laszlo Balogh

BUDAPEST (Reuters) - Hungarian authorities evacuated more than 2,000 people from the western village of Gyorujfalu on Friday as a precaution against flooding along the river Danube.

Tens of thousands have been evacuated and at least a dozen people killed in floods that have hit Germany, Austria, Slovakia, Poland and the Czech Republic in recent days.

"The dyke is so far stable but water pressure is so high that we decided to evacuate Gyorujfalu due to safety considerations," Prime Minister Viktor Orban was quoted as saying by national news agency MTI.

He said no other settlements were in immediate danger from flooding, which he called the worst the country had seen on the Danube, one of Europe's main waterways.

The flood is expected to peak in Budapest on Monday at around 8.85 meters, above the 8.6-metre record reached in 2006.

Authorities have said that dykes would be high enough to protect the city. In the Czech Republic, floods swept through parts of the historic capital Prague earlier this week.

Gyorgy Bakondi, a government spokesman, told MTI that the authorities would continue to strenghten dykes at Gyorujfalu, and that they should hold even though some cracks had appeared.

Earlier in the day, hundreds of people were piling sandbags in the village to bolster flood defenses with the help of military helicopters.

Inhabitants were taken by bus to a nearby youth camp.

(Reporting by Gergely Szakacs,; Writing by Sandor Peto; editing Mike Collett-White)

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