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Major floods in central Europe

Torrential rains inundated parts of central Europe over the weekend, prompting thousands to flee heavy floods, as the water continues to rise.

Major floods in central Europe

At least three people have died and eight more are missing after torrential rains struck and floods swept through parts of Austria, the Czech Republic and Germany over the weekend.

In 2002, the last time similar flooding hit central Europe, 17 people died in the Czech Republic, where flood and rain damage cost the country an estimated $26 billion.

On Sunday, Czech Prime Minister Petr Necas convened a special cabinet meeting to organize an emergency response, moving about 1,000 troops to help build flood barriers. "We will do everything to protect people's lives and health," he said. "Tonight and tomorrow will be critical."

More from GlobalPost: Central Europe braces for major flooding

In Germany, interior minister Steffen Seibert traveled to flooded regions, where Chancellor Angela Merkel is expected to follow on Tuesday. More than 7,000 people have been evacuated from the town of Eilenburg, and the cities of Passau and Rosenheim are now in a declared state of emergency.