Monday, August 27, 2007

AP: Romania: Floods cut off villages

BUCHAREST -- Rain-swollen rivers overflowed Sunday, killing at least one, cutting off around 2,000 people, forcing evacuation of tourists.

A 15-year-old boy also died in the southern village of Visina after he was struck by lightning while grazing cattle in the village fields, local authorities were quoted by state news agency Rompres as saying.

The flooding left 130 villages without power, and farms throughout the country's north and east were waterlogged, officials said.

About 1,400 people were cut off in the northern villages of Moldovita and Vatra Moldovita, with nearby dirt and forest roads impassable, local official Alexandru Baisanu said.

A 19-year old man drowned when a car he was driving in the area fell into a rain-swollen river. In the county of Harghita further south, hundreds were stranded in their villages because of torrential rain.

Six towns in central Romania were also flooded after swollen rivers burst their banks.

A 17th-century monastery in Sambata de Sus, about 200 kilometers northwest of Bucharest, sustained significant water damage, Brasov county spokesman Dan Gradinari said.

More than a dozen cars were swept away by floodwaters when a river in the area broke its banks. Dozens of tourists staying in Sambata de Sus and another village sought refuge in hotels after their guesthouses flooded.

Further south in Buzau county, authorities were working to restore electricity to 130 villages that suffered power outages because of the rains.

Six counties of Romania's 41 counties have been affected, and forecasters said another seven could be hit by floods.

The rain followed three days of unusually high temperatures, up to 40 C.

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