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Waters Recede, And Dike Holds Up

Mon., Aug. 4, 1997

Water levels slowly dropped along the flooded Oder River Sunday and crews scrambled to repair a dangerous new crack in the dike.

The breach was discovered late Sunday on the dike at Hohenwutzen, on the northern tip of the low-lying Oderbruch region, where the situation has been particularly critical.

More than 10,000 soldiers and volunteers, including divers, remained on alert along the soggy dike, which had been cracking and crumbling since the floods began 18 days ago.

But against all expectations, the dike withstood the rain-swollen river and protected tiny villages on the low-lying plain.

If the dike bursts, thousands of homes in the Oderbruch plain would be flooded and the soldiers themselves could be swept away in the muddy water of Central Europe’s worst flood in 200 years.

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