Romania braces for severe floods in the south-west

Two people have died so far and other four were missing after southwestern Romania was hit by severe flooding, with a “code red” weather warning for flooding issued for seven counties until the afternoon of August 1.

The Government mobilized rescuers from other counties to be deployed in the affected areas after rivers overflowed and destroyed hundreds of houses in the Valcea, Gorj, Olt, Mehedinti, Arges and Timis counties. The army was also on stand-by in neighboring counties, the authorities in Bucharest announced. A red alert was issued by the state weather agency untill 2pm on August 1, with the possibility of renewing it.

The chief of the Gorj county police has asked his subordinates and other state bodies to check the construction licenses of all the houses built along river banks and which have been destroyed by flooding. He implied some of the houses may have been illegally built there and owners have thus no right to ask the state for financial assistance.

The public was angered after reports that a 73-year-old man died in a village in the Arges county died after being swept away by river waters even though his village appeared on governmental maps in a secure flood-free area. The Romanian government paid about 47 million euro, mostly EU funds, for these maps which turned out to be inaccurate.

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