Families evacuated in Hungary as flood waters rise dangerously

BUDAPEST, Apr 8, 2000 -- (AFP) Some 30 families had to be evacuated from three villages in northeastern Hungary after heavy flooding which is causing fears of fresh chaos along the Tisza river, local officials said Friday.

The Bodrog river, a subsidiary of the Tisza, at Sarospatak had reached a height of 7.2 meters (23.8 feet), only 14 centimeters less than in last year's severe floods when hundreds of homes along the Tisza collapsed, said local civil defense leader Istvan Kiss.

Officials fear this year's flooding could be even worse.

The flooding has brought to the surface tonnes of dead fish that Hungary presumes were killed by a spill of cyanide-tainted water from a Romanian mine in January that polluted the Tisza and flowed into the Danube in Yugoslavia, environment officials said.

Fishermen in central Hungary told state radio they had collected some 26 tonnes of dead fish in this week's floods.

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