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Landslides caused by heavy rain cut off villages in Austria

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Debris and water stream down a road among houses in Treffen, in the Villach-Land district of the Carinthia state, Austria, on June 29, 2022.

PHOTO: AFP

VIENNA (AFP) – Rescue workers were trying to reach three villages in western Austria on Wednesday (June 29) after landslides due to heavy rain cut off access, according to the Red Cross.

Thunderstorms in the night from Tuesday to Wednesday led to streams in the mountainous Villach-Land district in Carinthia state bursting their banks, causing landslides of mud and debris, said Ms Melanie Reiter, a spokesman for the Red Cross in the state, which borders Italy and Slovenia.

“Three villages have been completely cut off… The army and firefighters are trying to clear the streets” to access the villages, she told AFP.

Ms Reiter could not immediately say how many people have been affected. As of now, there were no reports of injuries, but several houses are believed to have been damaged, she said.

“It looks very bad up there,” she added.

Elsewhere in the district, photos showed debris-strewn streets as rivers burst their banks and the wind swept off roofs, according to the Austrian news agency APA.

APA quoted Mr Gerhard Hohenwarter from Austria’s Central Institution for Meteorology and Geodynamics as saying that in Arriach, one of the villages that was cut off, and other places in the region, it “rained as much in just a few hours as it does for the entire month for an average June”.

As with elsewhere in Europe, Austria is experiencing a heatwave, with the authorities warning of high temperatures and thunderstorms.

The authorities have issued extreme weather warnings around the globe, while experts warn that these phenomena are more evidence of the impact of climate change.

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