Sunday, August 26, 2007

Romania floods: Over 1,000 stranded

Overnight rains caused rivers to overflow on Sunday in Romania, unleashing floods that left some 1,400 people stranded in villages and forced the evacuation of a 17th-Century monastery.

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 stuck in the northern villages of Moldovita and Vatra Moldovita, with nearby dirt and forest roads being impassably muddy, local official Alexandru Baisanu said.

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

The Sambata de Sus monastery, about 200 kilometers northwest of Bucharest, was badly affected, Brasov county spokesperson Dan Gradinari said.

Forty tourists were forced to leave the 17th-Century Orthodox monastery for a nearby hotel, he said.

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

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

The rain followed three days of unusually high temperatures, up to 40 Celsius (104 Fahrenheit).

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