Death toll in Austria storms rises to five

VIENNA: Five people, including two children, died in Thursday as storms wreaked havoc in Austria, according to the country’s news agency and officials.

Three people died due to a falling tree in Lower Austria state, news agency APA reported.

In the southern state of Carinthia, two children were killed and about a dozen other people injured at a small lake when the storm also uprooted several trees there, said Red Cross spokeswoman for the state Melanie Reiter.

Elsewhere in the region, roofs were blown off and other damage caused, she told AFP.

She said the children were estimated to be between five and eight years old.

Train traffic also came to a halt in Carinthia and neighbouring states because of the damages caused by the storms, according to rail operator OeBB.

Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer and President Alexander Van der Bellen expressed their sympathies for the victims with Van der Bellen describing the children’s deaths as an “immeasurable tragedy”.

In June, an 82-year-old man died after landslides caused by heavy rains caused widespread damage, also in Carinthia state, which borders Italy and Slovenia.

Austria is currently experiencing a heatwave and authorities have warned of thunderstorms.

Experts say climate change is increasing the frequency and intensity of heatwaves and other extreme weather events.

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