World News

Flooding forces evacuations in Slovakia

BRATISLAVA (Reuters) - Heavy rains forced the evacuation of 1,500 people in Slovakia’s second largest city of Kosice overnight amid fears the swollen river Hornad would overflow and flood surrounding areas.

Thousands have been forced to leave their homes in over 900 villages and small towns in eastern Slovakia over the past few days due to flooding which has destroyed crops, damaged buildings and cars, and left some residents homeless.

Although the situation appeared to be improving in some regions Saturday, leftist Prime Minister Robert Fico held an extraordinary government meeting Saturday to discuss the floods, which he said were the worst in a century.

Running for re-election in June 12 general election, Fico has approved a 25 million euro aid package for the hardest hit regions in eastern Slovakia.

He told reporters after the meeting that police suspected three people may have died in the flooding, although these numbers had not been confirmed.

“We are lucky that Slovakia does not have to cope with a larger number of flood victims,” he said.

Railway companies have been forced to suspend traffic, roads have been damaged and gas and electricity supplies disrupted by the floods, which have affected broad swathes of central Europe, causing hundreds of millions of dollars in damages and killing 18 in Poland.

Meteorologists expect rains to keep up until the weekend in parts of central Europe.

Reporting by Martin Santa; Editing by Noah Barkin