Flooded rivers threaten German cities

June 4, 2013
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Members of the Red Cross make their way by boats in the flooded street in the center of Passau, southern Germany, Monday, June 3, 2013. Raging waters from three rivers have flooded large parts of the southeast German city following days of heavy rainfall in central Europe. A spokesman for the city’s crisis center said Monday that the situation was “extremely dramatic” and waters are expected to rise further by midday to their level highest in 70 years. (AP Photo/Matthias Schrader)

BERLIN (AP) — Floodwaters in Passau are receding from the highest level seen in more than five centuries but cities downstream are bracing themselves as swollen rivers sweep through southeastern Germany.

At least eight people have been reported dead and nine missing in the floods in Germany, Austria, Switzerland and the Czech Republic.

The Danube hit its highest level since 1501 in Passau on Monday before receding a half meter (yard) by Tuesday morning. German Chancellor Angela Merkel was on her way to the city, where waters were expected to recede by another 2 meters (yards) by midday.

But farther downstream in Regensburg, streets were being closed as the Danube rose.

Other rivers were flooding cities in the eastern states of Thuringia, Saxony Anhalt, Saxony and Brandenburg.