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Flooding Affects Many Regions of Europe - 2003-01-04

Flooding has hit parts of Europe after many days of heavy rain, and troops and emergency workers are out in some areas to fight high waters. At least six people have been killed in recent days.

In Germany, soldiers and emergency workers reinforced flood barriers after waters from the Rhine River spilled over into Cologne. Traffic on the Rhine, one of the world's busiest rivers, was closed over a 144 kilometer stretch south of Cologne. However, authorities say the worst appears to be over for other parts of the country, where many rivers are stabilizing or slowly falling.

Belgium suffered its worst floods in nearly a decade and the army was put on flood alert as parts of the county fell under almost one meter of water. However, on Saturday clean-up operations got under way as flood waters began to pull back.

Belgium's news agency reported that rivers in several provinces were down more than 50 centimeters as the rains eased. Namur province and the southern French-speaking region of Walloon were among the worst hit areas. Crown Prince Philippe visited the community of Liedekerke to show solidarity with the victims.

In France limited flooding was reported on highways that run along the Seine River, below the embankments. However, there was snow in Paris as temperatures dropped. Snow fell in Luxembourg as well, after days of rain and unseasonably warm temperatures ended.

Flood warnings across Britain remained in force, mainly in the south of the country. Heavy rain over the past week already caused widespread flooding. Meanwhile in Portugal, heavy rains caused landslides, closed roads and flooded several towns. And in Austria winds of up to 100 kilometers per hour temporarily cut off power to thousands of homes.