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Merkel to visit flood-hit areas as heavy rainfall continues in Germany


08:20, June 04, 2013

BERLIN, June 3 (Xinhua) -- Germany Chancellor Angela Merkel will visit flood-hit areas Tuesday to rally government resources to help the affected, a government spokesman said Monday, as states of emergency have been declared in a number of areas due to continuous heavy rainfall.

Government spokesman Steffen Seibert told reporters that an emergency task force has been set up to directly report to the chancellor, adding that Merkel's destinations are to be decided as the situation develops.

More than 1,700 soldiers have been deployed to help the rescue work as towns and cities in states including Bavaria, Saxony, Thuringia and Baden-Wuerttemberg are inundated, with authorities warning that continuing heavy rain is likely to worsen the flooding in southern and eastern Germany.

The Danube river rose above the record levels of 2002 to 12.2 meters on Monday. The city of Passau, which lies at the joint point of the Danube, Inn and Ilz, already saw the old town of the city under water. Some streets are cut off power supply due to security concerns.

In eastern Germany, sandbags have been piled up along the banks of the Elbe River in the Saxony capital of Dresden to prevent the city from being flooded as happened in 2002 when the Elbe burst its banks.

In the southwest state of Baden-Wurttemberg, two people are missing after being reportedly swept away by the flood as the Neckar river burst its banks.

Thousands of people have been evacuated from low-lying areas in many parts of the country, while schools are forced to be closed. The heavy rain not only disrupted shipping traffic on large sections of the Rhine, Main and Neckar rivers, but also affected railway traffic in southern Germany, according to local media reports.

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