From: Costas Kantouris, Associated Press
Published March 14, 2006 12:00 AM

Flooding Rivers Create Problems in Bulgaria, Greece and Turkey

THESSALONIKI, Greece — Torrential rains and melting snow caused rivers to flood Monday in a large border area encompassing Bulgaria, Greece and Turkey, cutting off some towns and closing schools in parts of the region.


In Greece, a state of emergency was declared in the northern Evros region after water reached dangerous levels on the Evros River, separating Greece and Turkey. The army evacuated part of a small village after 75,000 acres (30,000 hectares) were flooded. The overflow on the Evros, known in Turkey as the Meric, was caused by flooding on the Arda River, which runs down from Bulgaria. Train service running south along the river from Bulgaria was also stopped in some parts.


The Evros' water level was half-a-meter (yard) over the emergency limit, and "there is a lot more water on the way," said Nikos Zambounidis, governor of the Evros border region. "Every emergency service is on alert -- the fire department, municipal crews and others. We'll do whatever is necessary to prevent flooding in populated areas."


Across the northern border, in the southern Bulgarian town of Saedinenie, an emergency was declared after flood waters swamped the train station and several roads.


Three large artificial lakes on the Arda River in the southern region of Kardzhali have been overflowing, causing downstream waters to swell to dangerous levels, the civil defense agency said.


Several villages in the worst-hit regions of Kardzhali, Haskovo, Plovdiv and Smolyan have been cut off due to flooded bridges or mudslides.


Melting snow and heavy rain also caused flooding in Greece's northern neighbor Macedonia. Over 7,500 acres (3,000 hectares) of farming land flooded in the Pelagonija valley, southern Macedonia. That flooding was not related to the rivers affecting the other three countries.


In Turkey to the east, authorities ordered schools closed in an area close to the border after rising waters flooded the basements of hundreds of houses in the province of Edirne.


Edirne governor Nusret Miroglu said authorities also evacuated the village of Bosnakoy on the Bulgarian border, expecting further flooding from the Arda River.


The weather is expected to improve Monday.


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Associated Press writers Selcan Hacaoglu in Ankara, Turkey, Konstantin Testorides in Skopje, Macedonia, and Nevyana Hadjiyska in Sofia, Bulgaria, contributed to this report.


Source: Associated Press


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