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Water rising in Saxony-Anhalt. The KulturBotschaft suffered a severe damage from heavy rains twice last year.

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Photo Gallery: Floods Sweep through Central Europe Photos
DPA

As flooding continues across Central Europe, tens of thousands of people have been forced to evacuate their homes. After two levees broke in southeastern Germany, people had to be rescued from their rooftops by helicopters.

Though some areas have reported improved conditions, flooding continued across Central Europe on Wednesday after days of heavy rainfall, forcing tens of thousands of people to evacuate their homes.

 
Flooding caused by sustained heavy rainshas been reported in Austria, Switzerland, Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, and Germany with the overall death toll rising to at least 16. Four people have been reported missing.

In the eastern German states of Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt and Brandenburg, many cities along the Elbe and Saale rivers and their tributaries were inundated with high water, putting a major strain on dikes and dams.

The situation was particularly critical in the Saxony-Anhalt city of Halle, where some 30,000 residents were ordered to evacuate as a precautionary measure as water levels reached their highest in some 400 years. The city faces "acute danger" from the flooding, a city spokeswoman told news agency AFP.

 

Rooftop Rescues

Though the water has already begun to recede along the Danube River in the southern state of Bavaria, which was hit hard by flooding earlier this week, two dikes broke near the town of Deggendorf, trapping people on their rooftops, where they were rescued by helicopters. Four farmers caught by the rush of water managed to cling on to their tractor until they too were plucked up by a helicopter. A fire fighter told news agency DPA that was a "life-threatening situation."


German military troops and federal disaster workers have been called to help affected communities handle the flooding in eastern and southern regions of the country along the Elbe, the Danube and their tributaries. And on Tuesday, German Chancellor Angela Merkel pledged €100 million ($130 million) in swift aid for those affected. The announcement came after the chancellor assessed flood damage on Tuesday in the Bavarian city of Passau, which has seen its worst flooding in some 500 years.