Massive floods in Bavaria, Austria, Switzerland

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Heavy rainfalls have caused massive floods in Southern Bavaria, Western Austria and Central Switzerland.

In Southern Bavaria authorities have declared a state of emergency. The city of Garmisch-Partenkirchen is cut off from the outside world. Near Augsburg a freeway had to be closed because a bridge was on the verge of collapsing after water had damaged the foundation.

In the Austrian states of Tyrol and Vorarlberg authorities are battling with floods that intensified during the night with record rainfall. In Vorarlberg a brook broke into a house and caused a gas explosion injuring six people. One person is missing after he and his car were swept away. In the capital of Tyrol, Innsbruck, all bridges over the Inn had to be closed. In Western Tyrol, landslides killed one man and injured another.

In Switzerland the cities of Bern and Lucerne were partially flooded. Mudslides killed two firefighters who were trying to evacuate a farm. In the canton of Zürich one man drowned, and a woman in Graubünden is missing after she too fell into a stream. The Swiss government estimates the floodings caused a damage of at least US$79 million.