KIEV, Ukraine – Severe storms and floods in the Carpathian Mountains killed 13 people in Ukraine and another five people in neighboring Romania, officials said Sunday. Two other people were missing in Ukraine.
Five days of heavy rain near the Prut and Dniestr rivers caused floods that damaged more than 21,000 houses, Ukraine's Emergency Ministry said in a statement.
Ukrainian officials evacuated more than 8,000 people and reported that over 300 towns and villages were left without electricity. The government said damages are estimated at more than $300 million.
"Ukraine has not seen anything like this in 100 years," First Deputy Prime Minister Oleksandr Turchinov said in televised remarks.
Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko declared the region a national disaster area, leaving festivities marking the 1,020th anniversary of the country's adoption of Christianity in Kiev, the capital, to fly to the heaviest-hit region of Ivano-Frankivsk in southwestern Ukraine.
The storms will continue for at least another 24 hours and water levels are expected to rise further, the meteorological service said.
Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, who had already been touring the region, called for a parliament session to allocate disaster relief funds.
In northern Romania, five people died in flooding and heavy rain in areas bordering Ukraine, and power outages affected around 20,000 people, officials said.