Romania

Eight more dead, 50 missing in floods in Romania

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BUCHAREST, Jul 14, 2005 (Xinhua via COMTEX) -- Eight more people were killed and 50 others missing on Thursday as floods caused by heavy rains continued hitting large areas of Romania, the Rompres news agency reported.

Floods have hit more than 30 counties of the Balkan country over the past few weeks, swelling rivers, inundating homes and churning up roads.

Thousands of people were also left homeless in the floods, the worst in more than 40 years. An official from the weather service said rainfalls in many areas over the last 10 days "equal the average for an entire year."

In eastern Romania, roads remained closed and railway traffic was disrupted. Many areas were left without electricity or gas.

TV footage showed that a large number of troops, using boats and helicopters, were rescuing hundreds of stranded people in disaster areas.

The government has earmarked 140.5 billion new lei (about 4.7 million US dollars) for disaster relieving efforts.

Prime Minister Calin Popescu Tariceanu appealed to people to donate money to help those left without homes in the country, saying food supplies from state reserves would be sent to flooded areas and the cabinet would approve a financial aid package at its Thursday meeting.

Meteorologists said heavy rains would stop pouring in many areas over the next four to five days, but warned that more rain was expected.