Romania issues flood alert

2010-07-05 20:08

Bucharest - Romanian authorities on Monday issued a flooding red alert for several towns along the Danube, which has risen to a record level, threatening to cause further damage in the hard-hit country.

"This week we will be facing dangerous meteorological and hydrological events," Prime Minister Emil Boc said after an emergency meeting of the government.

The Danube has topped its record level in three eastern Romanian cities - Fetesti, Braila and Galati - which run major flooding risks in the coming days, the national water authority said.

In Galati, a city of 291 000 inhabitants, the authorities have decided to build a 4.5km long dam along the banks of the river.

More than 1 400 policemen, firemen and volunteers were at work on Monday, striving to complete the dam by Tuesday.

"Galati is our major concern. A team is working hard to save the city," Boc added.

Romania has been hit by severe storms and floods since June 21, which have left 25 people dead and forced 16 500 more to leave their homes. Some have been able to get back since then.

The prime minister has also called on authorities to make an inventory of the damage in order to get aid from the European Union solidarity fund.

Four countries - Austria, Belgium, Estonia and France - have already offered to help Romania cope with the devastating floods.