Paris floods: Seine set to peak as more rain forecast

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ASTANA. KAZINFORM - Floodwaters in Paris are set to peak shortly with the River Seine due to go 6m (19ft) above its normal level.

The world-famous Louvre and Orsay museums have been shut so staff can move priceless artworks to safety.

At least 11 people have died in the past week - 10 in southern Germany, one in France. Thousands have been forced from their homes.

More downpours are forecast through the weekend across a band of central Europe from France to Ukraine.

As much as 50mm (2in) of rain is expected to fall in some regions in just a few hours.

Several towns in southern Germany have been devastated. Belgium, Austria, the Netherlands and Poland have also been affected.

French President Francois Hollande said the weather was a serious climate phenomenon and a global challenge.

He is to declare a state of natural disaster in the worst-hit areas, which will free up emergency funds.

Another headache for Hollande - Analysis by Hugh Schofield, BBC News, Paris

Trains operating at only 50%, strikes on the metro, floods on the Seine, the Louvre closed, violent protests against the government's labour law, fears for the Euro 2016 football tournament - the list goes on.

If it wasn't an insufferable cliche, one would be tempted to call it Francois Hollande's "perfect storm". It is certainly not the perfect spring he would have liked.

Any self-help expert will tell you the best way to handle a concatenation of problems is to treat them one by one - and that is what the president is doing.

The waters will subside on their own. By Monday this will be an ex-story. For the rest, Mr Hollande is going through the list of disgruntled workers who have joined the labour protests - and buying them off.

The most glaring example is how he has now gone over the head of the SNCF (railways) boss to offer workers more or less all they were asking. It may buy peace for Euro 2016. It is probably not the best way to run an economy.

In Paris, emergency barriers have been put up along the Seine, a number of bridges have been closed and tourists boats have been banned from sailing on the river, the BBC's James Reynolds says.

The river has not reached present levels in Paris since 1982, according to the environment ministry.

At 11:00 local time (10:00 GMT), the Seine had reached a level of 5.65m in central Paris. It previously reached 6.18m in 1982, 7.1m in 1955 and 8.62m in 1910, Le Monde newspaper reports.

Rail operator SNCF has closed a line that runs alongside the Seine in central Paris.

More than 5,000 people have been evacuated from towns in central France since the weekend and 19,000 homes are without power, the AFP news agency reports.

The French Open tennis tournament, meanwhile, could be forced to extend into a third week.

Germany 'mourning'

In southern Germany some people remain missing.

Chancellor Angela Merkel said the country was in mourning for those who had lost their lives.

The worst incident was in Bavaria, where three women were found drowned in the basement of their house.

Kazinform refers to BBC.com 

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