Greece declares emergency in flood-hit north

Greece declares emergency in flood-hit north

THESSALONIKI - The Associated Press
Greece declares emergency in flood-hit north

Firefighters try to evacuate people from a flooded house in Pyrgos Greece on Sunday Feb, 5, 2012. AP photo

A swollen river in Greece bursts its banks, flooding homes and forcing authorities to declare a state of emergency Tuesday, officials said.

In Poland, meanwhile, the big freeze that is holding the rest of Europe in its icy grip killed another six people in the last 24 hours, the Interior Ministry said in a statement.

Ministry spokeswoman Malgorzata Wozniak said Tuesday that three other people died of asphyxiation with carbon monoxide from heaters they were using to heat their homes. The temperatures in Poland have plunged as low as minus 32 C (minus 26 F) since the freeze began.

In Greece, rescuers had to extract five elderly people Tuesday from their flooded homes after the river Evros burst its banks near the contry's northeastern border with Bulgaria. Sevaral elderly residents were also evacuated overnight from another three villages in the area.

Evros, which enters Greece from Bulgaria and runs along the border with Turkey, is swollen after days of heavy rainfall, compounded by a burst dam in southern Bulgaria.

The dam on Bulgaria's Ivanovo Reservoir collapsed on Monday, sending a torrent into the nearby village of Bisser that killed eight people and flooded 700 houses.