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Heavy floods claim avian victims

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15:56 CEST+02:00
Flooding in Västmanland in eastern Sweden has had catastrophic effects on the local bird population with enthusiasts fearing a death toll in the thousands.

Over 100 millimetres of rain fell in some areas of Västmanland last week with serious flooding as a result. Local bird-lovers fear that large numbers of young birds may have been washed away in the downpour, according to reports in the newspaper Svenska Dagbladet.

Currently large tracts of land remain under water with up to 600 hectares of arable and grazing land affected.

Harald Eriksson, Green party member and bird enthusiast, lives by Gnien's nature reserve north of the town of Surahammar, one of the worst hit areas.

"All the arable land and forest is under water. I am afraid that all of the birds that breed on the ground and in bushes have drowned."

"There isn't an insect on the ground nor in the air," Eriksson said, adding that in the aftermath of the heavy rains, he has found hundreds of dead chicks in the nesting grounds.

According to Sweden's meteorological agency SMHI, more rain is on the way with up to 50 millimetres forecast in some areas over the next five days.

Most of the central and southern areas of Sweden will be hit by showers and outbreaks of thunder and lightning as the turbulent summer weather continues.

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