IN SHORT

Floods hit 200 towns and villages in Slovakia

AS OF April 3, floods in Slovakia had affected 200 towns and villages. Rising water in rivers and streams had flooded 1,291 houses and 2,200 hectares of land.

After a flood alert was called, 474 people were evacuated, the SITA news agency reported. Almost 1,000 firefighters and rescue workers had flood relief efforts by April 3, in addition to 200 soldiers.

Four helicopters, 126 trucks and nine rescue boats were also sent into action, while over 190,000 sandbags were used to reinforce dikes and protect buildings.

The heads of regional offices in Galanta and Dunajská Streda announced a state of emergency. Police were redirecting traffic around the village of Trstice in Galanta district, with only its inhabitants allowed to enter.

Although the government has approved a flood-protection programme to 2010 calling for spending of around Sk20 billion (€529 million), it has fallen Sk5 billion behind in its payments.

The government promised to help flood-damaged villages and towns, although Prime Minister Mikuláš Dzurinda did not specify a concrete sum.

"We will all do our outmost to prevent nature from showing its destructive power," said the PM, promising to urge the ministries to compensate municipalities for damages as soon as possible.

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