Romania floods kill 24, damage to hit economy

Damage wreaked by deadly floods and torrential rain in Romania over the past week could reduce 2010 gross domestic product by at least 0.6 percent, the interior minister said.

Romania floods kill 24, damage to hit economy

Damage wreaked by deadly floods and torrential rain in Romania over the past week could reduce 2010 gross domestic product by at least 0.6 percent, the interior minister said on Wednesday.

Floods and lightning have killed 24 people, forced over 7,000 to be evacuated from their homes and deluged more than 12,000 hectares of arable land in northeastern Romania. The rain has also taken a heavy toll on Romania's infrastructure, damaging houses, national roads, bridges and wells.

"Overall losses will be bigger than 0.6 percent of GDP which is too much," Interior Minister Vasile Blaga told parliament.

Romania -- the European Union's second-poorest member -- had already started the process to request funds from the bloc's executive emergency fund, he said.

Thousands of riot police continued to enforce flood defences and aid the evacuation effort, Blaga said.

The agriculture ministry has yet to assess the damage to cereal crops and has so far kept its previous estimate of 6.7 million tonnes of wheat for 2010 from 2 million hectares.

Romania, whose economy contracted more than 7 percent last year, is still stuck in recession and spending cuts and tax increases could further crimp growth.

Bucharest now predicts a drop of between 1 and 2 percent in in GDP this year. The original estimate for this year's GDP, in nominal terms, was 538 billion lei or around 126 billion euros.

The weather was not expected to improve until Thursday in eastern Romania, according to the national forecaster.

"In the next 7 to 10 days, we are expecting the Danube levels to be over the records reached in 2006," said Anamaria Tanase, spokeswoman for the Apele Romane waters authority.

The Danube poured over dams and burst defences throughout central and southeastern Europe in 2006 as melting snow and heavy rains raised water levels to century highs.

Extensive floods and cold snaps in 2006 damaged cereals crops on around 300,000 hectares.


Reuters

Güncelleme Tarihi: 30 Haziran 2010, 16:14

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