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KOHL CALLS FLOOD PROTECTION IN GERMANY A 'NATIONAL TASK'

While hundreds of soldiers reinforced a weakened dike, Chancellor Helmut Kohl reassured residents along the swollen Oder River on Tuesday that protecting Germany's eastern edge from inundation was a "national task."

"If the dike breaks, not even a chancellor can do anything more," said one resident.

The Oder on the Poland and Germany border, started flooding early this month. Flooding killed about 100 people in Poland and the Czech Republic, but Germany has avoided casualties since the high waters hit July 17.

Just a few miles away in Hohenwutzen, soldiers and volunteers reinforced a 250-year-old dike with sandbags. About 5,000 people have been evacuated.

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