by Staff Writers
Ljubljana (AFP) Nov 06, 2012
Floods forced hundreds of people to evacuate their homes in Croatia on Tuesday as declining water levels in flood-hit regions of neighboring Slovenia allowed many evacuees to return home.
Firefighters helped evacuate people from the northern Croatian village of Otok Virje where more than 100 houses near the banks of the river Drava were flooded, officials said.
Some 300 people were evacuated in northern Croatia, they added.
The authorities declared emergency measures in several municipalities in the border region with Slovenia. Aroundthe capital of Zagreb, the authorities have been monitoring the rise in the Sava river after days of heavy rains.
The Drava and the Sava rivers are two main tributaries of the Danube.
Two border posts between Croatia and Slovenia have remained closed, while traffic was banned on numerous regional roads.
In Slovenia, people who were evacuated Monday in the east and northeast were allowed to return to their homes on Tuesday, even as many roads and rail links remained blocked.
Residents had been advised on Mondayto evacuate areas of Maribor, Slovenia's second largest city, and several other towns and villages along the Drava river, after it burst its banks following days of heavy rain in Slovenia and neighbouring Austria.
On Tuesday, the defence ministry said the army had deployed over 500 soldiers to help firefighters and civil defence workers in clean-up and reparation operations along the banks of the Drava, the Sava and the Krka, which had also overflowed their banks.
The authorities said the water had receded by Tuesday and evacuees were able to return to their homes, while residents were busy clearing roads and pumping water out of their cellars.
The head of the civil protection agency Darko But said over 2,000 buildingsaround the country -- including homes, offices and public buildings -- had suffered damage from the floods.
Bridges also suffered some damage and the rail connection between the cities of Celje and Velenje was "only partial," the national railway company said. In other areas, bus replacement services were organised after trains were cancelled.
Authorities meanwhile warned citizens in the affected areas not to drink tap water since it could be contaminated.
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