Thousands evacuated as floods sweep Europe

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An aeral view shows the Prague Zoo under water on Monday (Tuesday in Manila) as the Czech capital was flooded, with metro stations and elementary and secondary schools shut after the Vltava river rose, flooding parts of the historic city center because of heavy rainfalls. AFP PHOTO

PRAGUE: Thousands were forced from their homes and at least 10 people were killed as floodwaters deluged swathes of Europe on Monday (Tuesday in Manila), including the historic center of the Czech capital Prague.

Shops and schools were shut and road and rail transport were disrupted across the Czech Republic, Austria and Germany following torrential rains.

The flooding caused chaos at Prague Zoo where around 1,000 animals were moved to higher ground after the Vltava river burst its banks on Sunday.

Czech rescue crews were searching for four more people believed to have died in floodwaters that cut power to tens of thousands of households.

The heavy rainfall has triggered nightmarish memories of the 2002 floods that killed dozens in the region including 17 in the Czech Republic alone.

The Czech government declared a state of emergency on Sunday, deploying 2,000 troops in its rescue drive as more than 8,000 people were evacuated from their homes, officials said.

A house collapse claimed two lives south of Prague, while an electrician was killed trying to switch off a transformer as a precaution, a woman perished when she was hit by a falling tree branch and three men drowned in rivers or drains around the country, police said.

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