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Flooding Eases in Norway

June 8, 1995

OSLO, Norway (AP) _ A week of severe flooding appeared to ease Wednesday in southeastern Norway, leaving some villages virtually wiped out and others as fortified as battlefields.

Heavy rain and melting snow caused some of the area’s worst floods of the century, sometimes sweeping along entire buildings as the water raged along a roughly 185-mile path from the mountains to the sea. One person died.

``The flood appears to be under control,″ said Ola Kjeldsen, of the Norwegian Water Resources and Energy Board. ``The flood dikes appear to be holding well.″

Kjeldsen said colder weather is forecast, which should slow melting.

The floods closed railroads, destroyed homes, businesses and crops, cut off roads, disrupted postal service and contaminated drinking water supplies. At least 4,000 people had been evacuated.

Insurance companies allotted $290 million to cover losses, and the government promised aid after the total damage is determined.

Dirt and sandbag barricades in the streets, heavy equipment and soldiers building dikes and guarding against looters made some towns look as if they were ready for war.

In Lillestroem, 12 miles north of Oslo, residents hoped their hastily built, two-mile emergency dike would hold off Lake Oyeren, where levels were holding steady Wednesday at about 7.5 feet above normal.

In Hamar, 75 miles north of Oslo, soldiers had worked around the clock to protect the town from overflow at Mjosa, Norway’s largest lake.

Some Norwegians complained of inaccurate and fluctuating flood warnings.

``We have to remember that we are dealing with powerful natural forces,″ said Justice Minister Grete Faremo. ``It isn’t always easy to predict.″

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