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Merkel to give cash to flood victims

Chancellor Angela Merkel has promised €100 million to victims of Germany's worst flood.

Chancellor Angela Merkel. Picture: AFP

PRAGUE - Chancellor Angela Merkel promised €100 million to victims of Germany's worst flood in a decade on Tuesday as she toured areas devastated by the deluge, which has killed 12 people across central Europe.

In the Czech Republic, swathes of Prague's suburbs were under water but metal barriers along the Vltava River shielded the historic centre as the floods shifted north to Germany.

In Germany's Saxony state, about 10,000 people were forced from their homes and thousands more were evacuated in Bavaria.

The 12 deaths occurred in the Czech Republic, Austria, Poland and Germany since the weekend.

Forecasters said receding rains would help water levels to drop across the Czech Republic but that parts of Slovakia and Hungary, as well as Germany, would be affected in coming days.

Conservative Merkel, who faces an election in September and hopes to win a third term, was keen to show she was helping those affected as she visited the Bavarian city of Passau, where soldiers had been piling up sandbags and clearing mud.

"Even if the water level is slowly retreating, the effects will be felt for a long time," she told reporters.

"Therefore €100 million of emergency aid is available from the state of Bavaria and the federal government. Now it is a matter of getting the aid quickly to people."

Meteorologists predicted the worst might be over for cities such as Passau but warned of flooding in Dresden and nearby Meissen, both devastated by floods in 2002.

Slovakian Prime Minister Robert Fico, returning from a helicopter flight over threatened areas, said he expected the River Danube to reach its highest level on Thursday. Slovakia had taken the necessary measures to prevent the water from breaching flood barriers, he said.

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