Feature

Expensive flood cleanup

The week's news at a glance.

Hamburg

Central Europe began mopping up this week after the worst flood in centuries drove hundreds of thousands of people from their homes. More than 100 people died, crops were ruined, and villages were destroyed across Germany, Austria, and the Czech Republic. “This is the worst natural disaster our generation has seen,” Austrian Chancellor Wolfgang Schüssel said. Total damage could top $20 billion. The E.U. has pledged to pitch in, but the worst-hit countries will still face enormous bills. Germany has already postponed a planned $7 billion tax cut, and the Czech Republic has canceled a $2 billion purchase of fighter planes.

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