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High Tatras town dying slow death

THE VYSOKÉ Tatry municipality, which lies near the country's highest mountain range, the High Tatras, may soon disappear for lack of residents.

Data have shown a steady population drop in this municipality of 5,200 people, which since 1999 has seen more deaths than births.

The head of the Vysoké Tatry regional office, Jozef Vilim, said the population drop had several reasons.

The municipality is made up of 15 settlements and smaller villages scattered around the national park. Since the park limits the construction of new buildings, Vilim said, "it's not possible to build housing estates for young families here. And because the young people have nowhere to live, they have been leaving."

According to Vysoké Tatry statistics, 48 people died and 36 were born last year. From January to August this year,31 died and 23 were born.

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