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Water levels on flooded Tisza River recede in Hungary and Ukraine

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Budapest/Kiev (dpa) - Water levels on the upper reaches of the flooded Tisza River in Hungary receded noticeably over the weekend, as the flood peak moved downriver, Hungarian authorities said on Sunday.

Ukrainian authorities also reported a decline and the Ministry for Emergencies said the situation was stabilizing,

At Tokaj, the Hungarian winemaking centre where the Bodrog flows into the Tisza, a level of 8.5 metres was recorded late on Saturday, almost 80 centimetres lower than the earlier peak.

The dykes were reported to be holding against the floods, and no new evacuations were planned. Mopping up operations and damage assessment are to begin as the water recedes over the next few days.

On Tuesday a dam burst on the Hungarian side of the border with Ukraine, flooding 15 Hungarian villages either completely or partially. In four of the affected villages, residents began to return over the weekend.

At least 130 houses were affected, and the authorities have also warned of the danger of disease spreading. They advised the population to drink only bottled water.

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, who visited the flooded region on Sunday, confirmed his government's commitment to provide assistance.

Quite apart from funds for immediate reconstruction, provision would also be made for the economic development of the backward and impoverished region, Urban told Hungarian radio.

In Ukraine, the effects of the flooding were considerably worse. Of 27,000 flooded homes, some 900 were reported destroyed, and almost 10,000 people were still homeless on Sunday. The death toll stands at six.

President Leonid Kuchma declared an ecological disaster, and said the region would enjoy priority in reconstruction efforts.

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Copyright (c) 2001 dpa Deutsche Presse-Agentur GmbH
Received by NewsEdge Insight: 03/11/2001 11:05:57

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