Developing

Floods In Central Europe Kill At Least Ten

Heavy rains have led to thousands of people being moved to higher ground to escape some of the worst floods central Europe has seen in years.

At least five people were have died in Czech Republic where hundreds of people had to be rescued from their homes, and others have died in Germany, Austria and Poland.

The Czech capital Prague is bracing itself for a deluge as the Vltava river continues to rise.

Troops have been rushing to erect further protective barriers in the historic centre.

The landmark Charles Bridge has been closed and zoo staff have been forced to move animals, including a tiger, to safety.

Czech Prime Minister Petr Necas declared a state of emergency on Sunday for most of the nation and pledged £10m for relief efforts.

Authorities have been forced to move almost 2,700 people from the country's low-lying areas.

The historic part of Prague is a Unesco heritage site with hundreds of well-preserved buildings, churches and monuments dating back centuries.

In the nearby town of Trebenice a man and woman were found dead under rubble after their house collapsed.

In Germany, 7,000 people living in low-lying areas around Eilenburg have evacuated, according to reports.

At least four people have died or are missing and large stretches of the Rhine, Main and Neckar rivers have been closed to ship traffic.

Some of the worst flooding has been around the Danube river, which starts in Germany and passes through countries including Austria, Slovakia and Hungary on its way to the Black Sea.

In Passau and Rosenheim, in the southern state of Bavaria, a state of emergency has been declared as the historic cities have been deluged by water.

"The situation is extremely dramatic," Herbert Zillinger, a spokesman for Passau's crisis centre, told The Associated Press.

River levels in Passau rose higher than those experienced in 1954 when floods devastated the city.

In Munich, the river Isar was five metres (16ft) higher than its normal level. In Grimma, the authorities also declared the town a 'disaster area'.

The German army sent 1,760 soldiers to help local authorities and volunteers reinforce flood defences particularly in the south and east of the country.

In neighbouring Austria, more than 20 centimetres (8ins) of rainfall in the last four days caused widespread flooding and landslides and forced hundreds of people to evacuate their homes.

One clean-up worker was killed in a mud-slide near Salzburg and another three people are missing.

The army was called in to help civil authorities in the settlement of Taxenbach, south of Salzburg.

Other countries along the route of the Danube, including Hungary, whose capital Budapest lies on the river, said on Monday they were worried about the danger of flooding downstream as the water heads towards the sea.