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Flood Waters Sweep Across Europe

Thousands of people have been evacuated from their homes in eastern Germany where the swollen Elbe River flooded villages and stalled rail transport in the region.

The Elbe breached its levee overnight Monday in the village of Fischbeck, west of the capital Berlin.

Aerial pictures of the region showed flooded villages and huge swathes of land partially submerged. The flooding led to Germany shutting down one of the region's most popular railway routes, which links Berlin to Frankfurt and other cities.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel praised the rescue efforts currently underway, but added that the damage could reach "into billions."

"But for now I have a good feeling. We can be a little bit proud of our country when we see how people help each other in such a dramatic situation."

Along with the Elbe River in Germany, the Danube and Vltava rivers have overflowed after a week of heavy rains, causing extensive damage in the Czech Republic, Austria, Slovakia, Hungary and Poland.

Firefighters in the Polish capital, Warsaw, evacuated passengers Sunday from flooded vehicles on the city's busiest motorways. Many major roads were not accessible and long traffic jams blocked the major highways in the city.

Officials have reported at least 21 flood-related deaths across central Europe.

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