Floods Cause Drowning, Evacuations in Czech Republic

Flooding in the eastern Czech Republic after heavy rains has killed at least nine people, Prime Minister Jan Fischer said Thursday.

Fischer said five people drowned while four others died of health problems while rescuers were struggling to reach them.

The four all had heart problems, rescue authorities said.

Local authorities previously said six people had drowned.

Hundreds of people have been evacuated throughout the region and a number of roads and railway lines have been closed as rivers flood their banks.

The country's security council and the government met Thursday to assess the situation. Fischer expressed his sympathy to the people in the affected area.

He said up to 1,000 soldiers will be deployed to help.

Meteorologists expect thunderstorms in the region later in the day but they are not expected to cause more damage.

"There's no imminent danger," Fischer said. "The situation is under control."

The situation remained tense in neighboring Austria Thursday, where driving rain over the past few days caused major flooding in northern, central and eastern parts of the country.

While the water levels of a number of rivers dropped overnight as the downpours diminished, authorities warned that thunderstorms and sporadic showers could cause more problems.

Thousands of firefighters and other rescue crews continued to drain buildings and soaked streets throughout the affected regions. In some places, such as the Medieval town of Steyr in Upper Austria province, cleanup efforts were under way after the water began receding.

In the capital Vienna, the famed Albertina museum began evacuating its storage facility — filled with 950,000 pieces of priceless art — as a precaution after traces of humidity were detected.