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Floods wreak havoc in Switzerland

10 June 2013, 09:30

Geneva - Heavy rain and hail hit western Switzerland on Sunday evening, causing mudslides and floods that blocked roads and rail and forced more than a dozen people to evacuate, police said.

No one was injured.

Switzerland had so far been largely spared the havoc wreaked by the worst floods to hit central Europe in a decade, but at around 18:00 (1600 GMT) on Sunday, violent rain and hail storms hit the western cantons of Vaud and Fribourg, local police said.

The Merine river had swollen and overflowed, flooding the old town in Moudon, filling cellars and prompting police to evacuate 13 people from their homes, "as a safety measure," Vaud police said in a statement.

Several roads were cut off by mudslides, including one linking Lausanne to Bern, although the lane heading towards the Swiss capital was reopened after a few hours. Several other roads in the area would remain closed at least until early Monday, police said.

A rail line connecting Moudon to the small town of Lucens to the north had also been damaged, and would remain closed for several days, the national SBB rail service said.

Nearly 140 rescue workers, police officers and civil protection officers were dispatched in Vaud alone to help deal with the floods.

In the neighbouring canton of Fribourg, police said some 50 rescue workers had been dispatched to help respond to nearly 40 distress calls after hail blocked drains and caused massive flooding in a number of areas.

At least six villages had been affected by floods and mudslides, which especially damaged cellars and roadways, police said.



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