August 19, 2002
BERLIN -- As Germans fought to keep rivers of putrid water out of their homes and the Hungarian capital of Budapest braced for flooding, European leaders promised a common effort to fund rebuilding and cleanup expected to take years and cost about $20-billion.
The violent storms that swept across the continent two weeks ago have passed, but the ensuing floods continue to claim lives. German police confirmed another death Sunday, bringing the Europe-wide toll to at least 106.
European Commission President Romano Prodi and the leaders of Germany, Austria, Czech Republc and Slovakia agreed on a plan to free "substantial sums" from European Union development funds and cheap loans.
While they gave few specific figures, the leaders proposed the creation of a European disaster relief fund.
"What moved us all was the damage and the suffering of the people in the stricken countries, whether they are EU members or will only become members," Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder said.
PATNA, India -- Deadly snakes slithered in floodwaters as 24 people in eastern India died from bites, drowning or being crushed by crumbling houses, officials said Sunday.
The latest deaths in India's Bihar state mean 935 people in Bangladesh, India and Nepal have died since the monsoon season began in June. About 23-million people in the neighboring nations have been displaced.
In China, the death toll from summer storms has approached 1,000.