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At least 22 die in Ukraine flooding

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KIEV, Ukraine (AP) - Rescuers pressed on with their search efforts Monday in flood-hit western Ukraine, where at least 22 people were killed when rivers burst their banks after severe storms, officials said.

The government declared the region a national disaster area.

Hundreds of towns and villages in southwestern Ukraine were flooded after days of heavy rain. More than 40,000 houses were affected and some 20,000 people were evacuated, the Emergency Situations Ministry said on its Web site.

Heavy rains that began last week in the southwestern Carpathian Mountains caused the Prut and Dniestr rivers to overflow, officials said.

Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko estimated the damage at around $800 million. Deputy Prime Minister Olexandr Turchynov said the country only has a fraction - some $57 million - in a special disaster fund.

Tymoshenko later called for an emergency session of parliament, which is currently on summer recess, to allocate the money.

U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine William Taylor said in a statement that the United States was considering aid.

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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