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Dublin: 19 °C Thursday 19 July, 2018
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Two missing in Austria as heavy rains force evacuations

Landslides triggered by heavy rains that have forced the evacuation of at least 200 people from their homes in Austria.

AFP

TWO PEOPLE WERE missing in Austria on Sunday following landslides triggered by heavy rains that have forced the evacuation of at least 200 people from their homes, local authorities said.

Many roads were closed, particularly in the west and north of the country, and several rail services were disrupted after days of pelting rain that has left many parts of the country under flood alert.

Hundreds of fire fighters and emergency services, as well as the Austrian army, have been mobilised to help clear roads, assist with evacuations and put up anti-flood barriers.

Open-air music festivals and other events have also been relocated or partly cancelled as a result of the weather.

In Taxenbach near Salzburg, rescue services were still searching for two people believed to have been caught in a landslide — a farmer on a tractor and a woman in a car.

Over 120 residents in the western province of Salzburg and another 80 in neighbouring Tyrol were evacuated from their homes as local rivers threatened to burst their banks, local authorities said.

In the northern city of Linz, the Danube was threatening to overflow and the fire department closed off parts of the city to traffic.

Much of the western provinces of Vorarlberg, Tyrol and Salzburg, as well as northern Upper Austria were under flood alert.

Several rail services were also halted due to landslides in Salzburg and Tyrol, Austrian Rail said, while a section of the motorway to Switzerland was closed because of flooding.

On Saturday alone, Vorarlberg province saw up to 132 millimetres (about five inches) of rain, according to the Austrian meteorological centre ZAMG.

In just a few days, Austria has experienced as much rain as it normally would do in two months during this season, ZAMG added.

Some towns are fearing a repeat of record floods similar to those in 2002 that caused nationwide damage of up to 7.5 billion euros ($9.7 billion).

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