Germany struggles to hold back 'catastrophic' flood waters
MAGDEBURG (AFP) - Thousands of emergency workers, troops and volunteers in Germany battled on Sunday against central Europe's worst floods in over a decade, which have forced mass evacuations and which one politician termed a "national catastrophe".
The focus was on the eastern city of Magdeburg, where vast outlying areas were covered in a sea of brown water, sparked by recent torrential rains which have washed down the Elbe river system from the Czech Republic.
The water level in Magdeburg reached 7.45m in the morning, vastly higher than the usual level of around 2m and worse than massive floods that struck the region in 2002, local authorities said.
Almost 3,000 residents were evacuated from the city's Rothensee district, where hundreds of army troops were working to reinforce a dyke protecting a crucial electricity facility to prevent a wider power outage in the city.