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Netherlands evacuates hundreds as flood fears rise
by Staff Writers
The Hague (AFP) Jan 6, 2012

The authorities in the Netherlands ordered Friday the evacuation of about 800 people living in the north of the country fearing heavy rains could cause a dyke to collapse, police said.

"A dyke is threatening to break, and if it goes, the entire area will be flooded," said Ger Blokzijl, a spokesman for the police in Groningen.

He said residents of four villages lying on a canal to the east of the city have been ordered to leave their homes and that the evacuations began around 6:00 am (0500 GMT).

"If the dyke collapses it could trigger a deluge of water up to 1.5 metres (five feet) high," Blokzijl warned.

Heavy rains in the Netherlands over the past few days have caused water levels in the canals to rise, while high winds of up to 100 kilometres (60 miles) an hour have disrupted air, sea and rail transport.

Rainfall in the north of the Netherlands in the first few days of January has equalled the average total rainfall for the entire month, according to the meteorological office.

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Dike bursts in flood-hit Brazil, 4,000 evacuated
Rio De Janeiro (AFP) Jan 5, 2012
A dike burst in Brazil's flood-hit northern Rio de Janeiro state Thursday, forcing the evacuation of nearly 4,000 residents, authorities said. Rising water levels on the Muriae river due to the torrential rains of the past few days caused the rupture of a bridge that serves as a dike protecting the town of Campos do Goytacazes, rescue officials said. "We have evacuated about 1,000 famili ... read more

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