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One dead after severe rainfall causes flooding in southern Austria

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By Euronews  with AP, AFP
Rescue workers stand among damaged houses after heavy rain in Treffen.
Rescue workers stand among damaged houses after heavy rain in Treffen.   -   Copyright  GERT EGGENBERGER / APA / AFP

Authorities in Austria have declared a civil emergency after mudslides cut off several villages from rescue services, while at least one person died after heavy rainfall caused flooding in the southern state of Carinthia.

Residents of the villages of Treffen and Arriach were told to seek safety in the upper levels of their houses, according to public broadcaster ORF. 

Several people had to be airlifted to safety by helicopter, while the body of an 82-year-old man was found in a swollen creek on Wednesday afternoon.

Treffen Mayor Gerald Ebner said 20 homes and farms could not be reached by rescue teams.

A car driver who had earlier been reported missing "managed to reach a safe place," authorities have said.

A storm late on Tuesday brought severe winds and heavy rain to the region and authorities warned that there was a high threat of further landslides.

Emergency services, residents and numerous volunteers have been busy clearing mud from buildings in the affected region.

Austrian President Alexander van der Bellen thanked the rescue teams on Twitter and described the destruction in Carinthia as "dramatic".

The increase in extreme events in Europe is, according to scientists, a direct consequence of global warming.