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Towns reinforce dikes as heavy rains send rivers over their banks in Germany and the Netherlands

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FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) — Firefighters and volunteers worked to reinforce dikes against rising floodwaters in northern and eastern Germany as heavy rains falling on already soaked ground pushed rivers and streams over their banks and forced several towns to evacuate residents.

The city of Braunschweig in Lower Saxony deployed an artificial dike — a long tube filled with water from the rising river — to protect its downtown area, while several hundred residents of Windehausen in the Thuringia region were told to leave their homes as the town lost power, the dpa news agency reported.

Hundreds of volunteers joined firefighters to pack sandbags atop weakened flood-control berms in Uplengen, near Bremen in northern Germany.

Firefighters try to secure the area from floodwaters from the Burlage-Langholter Tief, a tributary of the Leda, after it overflowed, in Langholt, Germany, Tuesday, Dec. 26, 2023. Firefighters and volunteers labored to reinforce dikes against rising floodwaters in northern and eastern Germany as heavy rains falling on already soaked ground pushed rivers and streams over their banks and forced several towns to evacuate residents. (Lars Penning/dpa via AP)

Firefighters are seen at center as they try to secure the area with sandbags from floodwaters from the Burlage-Langholter Tief, a tributary of the Leda, after it overflowed, in Langholt, Germany, Tuesday, Dec. 26, 2023. Firefighters and volunteers labored to reinforce dikes against rising floodwaters in northern and eastern Germany as heavy rains falling on already soaked ground pushed rivers and streams over their banks and forced several towns to evacuate residents. (Lars Penning/dpa via AP)

Firefighters are seen at center as they try to secure the area with sandbags from floodwaters from the Burlage-Langholter Tief, a tributary of the Leda, after it overflowed, in Langholt, Germany, Tuesday, Dec. 26, 2023. Firefighters and volunteers labored to reinforce dikes against rising floodwaters in northern and eastern Germany as heavy rains falling on already soaked ground pushed rivers and streams over their banks and forced several towns to evacuate residents. (Lars Penning/dpa via AP)

Several flood plains were also underwater Tuesday in the eastern Netherlands. Rivers surged, causing localized flooding, and some temporary dikes were being built with large sandbags. The various branches of the Rhine that flow through the Netherlands are expected to peak on Thursday.

Prime Minister Mark Rutte posted on X that “the high water causes problems in parts of the country. We are closely monitoring the situation and taking measures where necessary. I wish everyone in the Netherlands who is dealing with the unpleasant consequences of the heavy rainfall a lot of strength.”

Heavy rains have also swollen rivers in eastern Belgium in recent days, where authorities have issued warnings for the Our River, which marks the border with Germany, and its tributaries.

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