Western Austria and Germany on flood alert

Tuesday 23 August 2005 11.33
Western Austria and Germany on flood alert

Western Austria is on flood alert after heavy rain over the past few days killed one person and left at least six injured.

Water is continuing to rise in rivers in the mountainous western provinces of Vorarlberg and Tyrol. Heavy rains overnight caused cuts in telephone services and made many roads impassable, the state news agency APA reported.

450 soldiers have been mobilised to help out firemen in the west and south of the country.

In the town of Reuthe in western Austria, six people were injured, three of them burned badly, when flood waters set off an explosion, for as yet unclear reasons, in their house, APA said.

In the south, a 50-year-old woman died yesterday when heavy rains triggered river flooding that swept away her home in the town of Gasen.

Overnight rain triggered severe flooding in southern Germany also and authorities warned that worse was still to come.

'Total chaos is expected in the course of the late morning,' a police spokeswoman in Bavaria said.

The city of Garmisch-Partenkirchen was the first to ring alarm bells after flooding near the nearby town of Eschenlohe prompted police to evacuate people from their homes in boats.

More than 700 firemen, soldiers and police officers were sent to Munich to reinforce local rescue services.