Romania

Romanian may ask foreign help to cope with floods

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BUCHAREST, July 14 (Reuters) - Romania may ask for international help to clean up damage caused by recent floods which have killed five people and left thousands homeless, Prime Minister Calin Tariceanu said.

Torrential rains have hit more than half of the Balkan country over the past few weeks, swelling rivers, inundating homes and churning up roads.

"The damage is great, not only are houses destroyed or flooded, but also infrastructure," Tariceanu said late on Wednesday, returning from a visit to the northeast of Romania, the worst hit area. "We may even ask for international help."

He said a first estimate showed the floods, which hit 31 out of Romania's 42 counties, were worse than those in the west of the country in April and May which had caused nearly $600 million worth of damage.

More than 9,400 people were evacuated from flooded villages over the past three days. Television pictures showed people being airlifted by helicopters or rescued by military trucks and boats.

Tariceanu said food supplies from state reserves would be sent to flooded areas and the cabinet would approve a financial aid package at its Thursday meeting.

He appealed to people to donate money to help those left without homes in the country which hopes to join the European Union in 2007.

Meteorologists warned more rain was expected over the next few days, while authorities said there was a risk that diseases would start spreading in affected areas.

Reuters - Thomson Reuters Foundation
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