Danube Blockage Seen Lasting Through Winter

Friday, December 17, 1999
The collapsed bridges blocking the River Danube since NATO's March-to-June bombing of Yugoslavia are likely to remain there through the winter, sources said. Despite the best efforts of Hungary and Austria to speed up an appeal for EU funding to clear the river, they said, at a cost estimated between 12 and 30 million euros ($12.3-$30.7 million), it was unlikely any work would begin much before spring. Hungary and Austria, as well as other Danube nations, are eager to get the river cleared, not only to resume shipping, where losses for member states had run up to $175 million by the end of October, but also for fear that a cold winter could create ice blockage and flooding. However, efforts are complicated by the diplomatic tug of war of Yugoslavia versus Western European powers and the U.S.

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