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European Floods Kill Nearly 90 People


Floods that have killed almost 90 people throughout Central and Eastern Europe have forced new evacuations in the Czech Capital Prague. Water has begun pouring into several parts of the old city.

Emergency workers fought to protect Prague's medieval bridges and architecture against one of the worst floods in the city's 800-year history.

Heavy winds raised fears of a storm surge that could push flood waters over the barricades which have been erected to hold back the water.

A number of palaces and historic buildings from the Habsburg Empire have already been swamped.

Some streets can only be navigated by boat and parts of the city are without electricity.

Flood waters also engulfed the historic Old Town, sending residents and tourists fleeing to higher ground.

Two hundred thousand Czechs have been forced to leave their homes in what has been called the country's largest evacuation operation since World War II.

Authorities ordered people to leave their homes in Prague's historic Jewish Quarter and other area's as part of a new round of evacuations.

Rescue teams had a mandate to use mild force if necessary to get reluctant residents to leave their homes.

City officials said that since Monday about 70,000 people in Prague have left areas endangered by the floods that have already claimed nine lives and caused some $2 billion damage.

Elsewhere, a dozen people died in severe flooding in Germany and Austria. Thousands have been evacuated.

In Romania, a mother and baby died when a house collapsed in violent winds that also overturned a bus, killing the driver.

Rising water levels on the Danube have forced officials to suspend shipping in Hungary and to evacuate nearly 40 villages.

Authorities in central Europe are hoping to prevent a repeat of what happened in Russia's Black Sea region, where flash floods killed about 60 people.

Animals are suffering as well. Four hundred animals were moved to higher ground Tuesday at the Prague zoo. Zookeepers said they had to destroy a 35-year-old Indian elephant after he was stranded in a flooded part of the facility and could not be saved. A gorilla was also missing and presumed drowned.