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German floods could cost insurers $4 billion

  • Cars stand next to unidentified objects in a flooded area by river Elbe in the enclosed village Fischbeck, central Germany, Tuesday, June 11, 2013. Weeks of heavy rain this spring have sent the Elbe, the Danube and other rivers such as the Vltava and the Saale overflowing their banks, causing extensive damage in central and southern Germany, the Czech Republic, Austria, Slovakia and Hungary. (AP Photo/Jens Meyer)

    Cars stand next to unidentified objects in a flooded area by river Elbe in the enclosed village Fischbeck, central Germany, Tuesday, June 11, 2013. Weeks of heavy rain this spring have sent the Elbe, the Danube and other rivers such as the Vltava and the Saale overflowing their banks, causing extensive damage in central and southern Germany, the Czech Republic, Austria, Slovakia and Hungary. (AP Photo/Jens Meyer) Purchase photo reprints »

  • Cars stand next to unidentified objects in a flooded area by river Elbe in the enclosed village Fischbeck, central Germany, Tuesday, June 11, 2013. Weeks of heavy rain this spring have sent the Elbe, the Danube and other rivers such as the Vltava and the Saale overflowing their banks, causing extensive damage in central and southern Germany, the Czech Republic, Austria, Slovakia and Hungary. (AP Photo/Jens Meyer)

    Cars stand next to unidentified objects in a flooded area by river Elbe in the enclosed village Fischbeck, central Germany, Tuesday, June 11, 2013. Weeks of heavy rain this spring have sent the Elbe, the Danube and other rivers such as the Vltava and the Saale overflowing their banks, causing extensive damage in central and southern Germany, the Czech Republic, Austria, Slovakia and Hungary. (AP Photo/Jens Meyer) Purchase photo reprints »

  • Clouds reflect in the floods by river Elbe near Tangermuende, central Germany, Tuesday, June 11, 2013. Weeks of heavy rain this spring have sent the Elbe, the Danube and other rivers such as the Vltava and the Saale overflowing their banks, causing extensive damage in central and southern Germany, the Czech Republic, Austria, Slovakia and Hungary. (AP Photo/Jens Meyer)

    Clouds reflect in the floods by river Elbe near Tangermuende, central Germany, Tuesday, June 11, 2013. Weeks of heavy rain this spring have sent the Elbe, the Danube and other rivers such as the Vltava and the Saale overflowing their banks, causing extensive damage in central and southern Germany, the Czech Republic, Austria, Slovakia and Hungary. (AP Photo/Jens Meyer) Purchase photo reprints »

  • Clouds reflect in the floods by river Elbe near Tangermuende, central Germany, Tuesday, June 11, 2013. Weeks of heavy rain this spring have sent the Elbe, the Danube and other rivers such as the Vltava and the Saale overflowing their banks, causing extensive damage in central and southern Germany, the Czech Republic, Austria, Slovakia and Hungary. (AP Photo/Jens Meyer)

    Clouds reflect in the floods by river Elbe near Tangermuende, central Germany, Tuesday, June 11, 2013. Weeks of heavy rain this spring have sent the Elbe, the Danube and other rivers such as the Vltava and the Saale overflowing their banks, causing extensive damage in central and southern Germany, the Czech Republic, Austria, Slovakia and Hungary. (AP Photo/Jens Meyer) Purchase photo reprints »

  • Clouds reflect in the floods by river Elbe near Tangermuende, left, central Germany, Tuesday, June 11, 2013. Weeks of heavy rain this spring have sent the Elbe, the Danube and other rivers such as the Vltava and the Saale overflowing their banks, causing extensive damage in central and southern Germany, the Czech Republic, Austria, Slovakia and Hungary. (AP Photo/Jens Meyer)

    Clouds reflect in the floods by river Elbe near Tangermuende, left, central Germany, Tuesday, June 11, 2013. Weeks of heavy rain this spring have sent the Elbe, the Danube and other rivers such as the Vltava and the Saale overflowing their banks, causing extensive damage in central and southern Germany, the Czech Republic, Austria, Slovakia and Hungary. (AP Photo/Jens Meyer) Purchase photo reprints »

  • Clouds reflect in the floods by river Elbe near Tangermuende, left, central Germany, Tuesday, June 11, 2013. Weeks of heavy rain this spring have sent the Elbe, the Danube and other rivers such as the Vltava and the Saale overflowing their banks, causing extensive damage in central and southern Germany, the Czech Republic, Austria, Slovakia and Hungary. (AP Photo/Jens Meyer)

    Clouds reflect in the floods by river Elbe near Tangermuende, left, central Germany, Tuesday, June 11, 2013. Weeks of heavy rain this spring have sent the Elbe, the Danube and other rivers such as the Vltava and the Saale overflowing their banks, causing extensive damage in central and southern Germany, the Czech Republic, Austria, Slovakia and Hungary. (AP Photo/Jens Meyer) Purchase photo reprints »

  • The bursting of a dike has led to the flooding of the village Fischbeck, central Germany, Tuesday, June 11, 2013. Weeks of heavy rain this spring have sent the Elbe, the Danube and other rivers such as the Vltava and the Saale overflowing their banks, causing extensive damage in central and southern Germany, the Czech Republic, Austria, Slovakia and Hungary. (AP Photo/Jens Meyer)

    The bursting of a dike has led to the flooding of the village Fischbeck, central Germany, Tuesday, June 11, 2013. Weeks of heavy rain this spring have sent the Elbe, the Danube and other rivers such as the Vltava and the Saale overflowing their banks, causing extensive damage in central and southern Germany, the Czech Republic, Austria, Slovakia and Hungary. (AP Photo/Jens Meyer) Purchase photo reprints »

  • The bursting of a dike has led to the flooding of the village Fischbeck, central Germany, Tuesday, June 11, 2013. Weeks of heavy rain this spring have sent the Elbe, the Danube and other rivers such as the Vltava and the Saale overflowing their banks, causing extensive damage in central and southern Germany, the Czech Republic, Austria, Slovakia and Hungary. (AP Photo/Jens Meyer)

    The bursting of a dike has led to the flooding of the village Fischbeck, central Germany, Tuesday, June 11, 2013. Weeks of heavy rain this spring have sent the Elbe, the Danube and other rivers such as the Vltava and the Saale overflowing their banks, causing extensive damage in central and southern Germany, the Czech Republic, Austria, Slovakia and Hungary. (AP Photo/Jens Meyer) Purchase photo reprints »

  • Water enclose the rail track of the ICE high speed train in a flooded area by river Elbe near the village Schoenhausen, central Germany, Tuesday, June 11, 2013. Weeks of heavy rain this spring have sent the Elbe, the Danube and other rivers such as the Vltava and the Saale overflowing their banks, causing extensive damage in central and southern Germany, the Czech Republic, Austria, Slovakia and Hungary. (AP Photo/Jens Meyer)

    Water enclose the rail track of the ICE high speed train in a flooded area by river Elbe near the village Schoenhausen, central Germany, Tuesday, June 11, 2013. Weeks of heavy rain this spring have sent the Elbe, the Danube and other rivers such as the Vltava and the Saale overflowing their banks, causing extensive damage in central and southern Germany, the Czech Republic, Austria, Slovakia and Hungary. (AP Photo/Jens Meyer) Purchase photo reprints »

  • Water enclose the rail track of the ICE high speed train in a flooded area by river Elbe near the village Schoenhausen, central Germany, Tuesday, June 11, 2013. Weeks of heavy rain this spring have sent the Elbe, the Danube and other rivers such as the Vltava and the Saale overflowing their banks, causing extensive damage in central and southern Germany, the Czech Republic, Austria, Slovakia and Hungary. (AP Photo/Jens Meyer)

    Water enclose the rail track of the ICE high speed train in a flooded area by river Elbe near the village Schoenhausen, central Germany, Tuesday, June 11, 2013. Weeks of heavy rain this spring have sent the Elbe, the Danube and other rivers such as the Vltava and the Saale overflowing their banks, causing extensive damage in central and southern Germany, the Czech Republic, Austria, Slovakia and Hungary. (AP Photo/Jens Meyer) Purchase photo reprints »

  • Houses stand in a flooded area by river Elbe in the enclosed village Fischbeck, central Germany, Tuesday, June 11, 2013. Weeks of heavy rain this spring have sent the Elbe, the Danube and other rivers such as the Vltava and the Saale overflowing their banks, causing extensive damage in central and southern Germany, the Czech Republic, Austria, Slovakia and Hungary. (AP Photo/Jens Meyer)

    Houses stand in a flooded area by river Elbe in the enclosed village Fischbeck, central Germany, Tuesday, June 11, 2013. Weeks of heavy rain this spring have sent the Elbe, the Danube and other rivers such as the Vltava and the Saale overflowing their banks, causing extensive damage in central and southern Germany, the Czech Republic, Austria, Slovakia and Hungary. (AP Photo/Jens Meyer) Purchase photo reprints »

  • The bursting of a dike has led to the flooding of village Fischbeck, central Germany, Tuesday, June 11, 2013. Weeks of heavy rain this spring have sent the Elbe, the Danube and other rivers such as the Vltava and the Saale overflowing their banks, causing extensive damage in central and southern Germany, the Czech Republic, Austria, Slovakia and Hungary. (AP Photo/Jens Meyer)

    The bursting of a dike has led to the flooding of village Fischbeck, central Germany, Tuesday, June 11, 2013. Weeks of heavy rain this spring have sent the Elbe, the Danube and other rivers such as the Vltava and the Saale overflowing their banks, causing extensive damage in central and southern Germany, the Czech Republic, Austria, Slovakia and Hungary. (AP Photo/Jens Meyer) Purchase photo reprints »

  • The bursting of a dike has led to the flooding of village Fischbeck, central Germany, Tuesday, June 11, 2013. Weeks of heavy rain this spring have sent the Elbe, the Danube and other rivers such as the Vltava and the Saale overflowing their banks, causing extensive damage in central and southern Germany, the Czech Republic, Austria, Slovakia and Hungary. (AP Photo/Jens Meyer)

    The bursting of a dike has led to the flooding of village Fischbeck, central Germany, Tuesday, June 11, 2013. Weeks of heavy rain this spring have sent the Elbe, the Danube and other rivers such as the Vltava and the Saale overflowing their banks, causing extensive damage in central and southern Germany, the Czech Republic, Austria, Slovakia and Hungary. (AP Photo/Jens Meyer) Purchase photo reprints »

  • Clouds reflect in the floods by river Elbe near Tangermuende, central Germany, Tuesday, June 11, 2013. Weeks of heavy rain this spring have sent the Elbe, the Danube and other rivers such as the Vltava and the Saale overflowing their banks, causing extensive damage in central and southern Germany, the Czech Republic, Austria, Slovakia and Hungary. (AP Photo/Jens Meyer)

    Clouds reflect in the floods by river Elbe near Tangermuende, central Germany, Tuesday, June 11, 2013. Weeks of heavy rain this spring have sent the Elbe, the Danube and other rivers such as the Vltava and the Saale overflowing their banks, causing extensive damage in central and southern Germany, the Czech Republic, Austria, Slovakia and Hungary. (AP Photo/Jens Meyer) Purchase photo reprints »

  • Cars stand next to unidentified objects in a flooded area by river Elbe in the enclosed village Fischbeck, central Germany, Tuesday, June 11, 2013. Weeks of heavy rain this spring have sent the Elbe, the Danube and other rivers such as the Vltava and the Saale overflowing their banks, causing extensive damage in central and southern Germany, the Czech Republic, Austria, Slovakia and Hungary. (AP Photo/Jens Meyer)
  • Cars stand next to unidentified objects in a flooded area by river Elbe in the enclosed village Fischbeck, central Germany, Tuesday, June 11, 2013. Weeks of heavy rain this spring have sent the Elbe, the Danube and other rivers such as the Vltava and the Saale overflowing their banks, causing extensive damage in central and southern Germany, the Czech Republic, Austria, Slovakia and Hungary. (AP Photo/Jens Meyer)
  • Clouds reflect in the floods by river Elbe near Tangermuende, central Germany, Tuesday, June 11, 2013. Weeks of heavy rain this spring have sent the Elbe, the Danube and other rivers such as the Vltava and the Saale overflowing their banks, causing extensive damage in central and southern Germany, the Czech Republic, Austria, Slovakia and Hungary. (AP Photo/Jens Meyer)
  • Clouds reflect in the floods by river Elbe near Tangermuende, central Germany, Tuesday, June 11, 2013. Weeks of heavy rain this spring have sent the Elbe, the Danube and other rivers such as the Vltava and the Saale overflowing their banks, causing extensive damage in central and southern Germany, the Czech Republic, Austria, Slovakia and Hungary. (AP Photo/Jens Meyer)
  • Clouds reflect in the floods by river Elbe near Tangermuende, left, central Germany, Tuesday, June 11, 2013. Weeks of heavy rain this spring have sent the Elbe, the Danube and other rivers such as the Vltava and the Saale overflowing their banks, causing extensive damage in central and southern Germany, the Czech Republic, Austria, Slovakia and Hungary. (AP Photo/Jens Meyer)
  • Clouds reflect in the floods by river Elbe near Tangermuende, left, central Germany, Tuesday, June 11, 2013. Weeks of heavy rain this spring have sent the Elbe, the Danube and other rivers such as the Vltava and the Saale overflowing their banks, causing extensive damage in central and southern Germany, the Czech Republic, Austria, Slovakia and Hungary. (AP Photo/Jens Meyer)
  • The bursting of a dike has led to the flooding of the village Fischbeck, central Germany, Tuesday, June 11, 2013. Weeks of heavy rain this spring have sent the Elbe, the Danube and other rivers such as the Vltava and the Saale overflowing their banks, causing extensive damage in central and southern Germany, the Czech Republic, Austria, Slovakia and Hungary. (AP Photo/Jens Meyer)
  • The bursting of a dike has led to the flooding of the village Fischbeck, central Germany, Tuesday, June 11, 2013. Weeks of heavy rain this spring have sent the Elbe, the Danube and other rivers such as the Vltava and the Saale overflowing their banks, causing extensive damage in central and southern Germany, the Czech Republic, Austria, Slovakia and Hungary. (AP Photo/Jens Meyer)
  • Water enclose the rail track of the ICE high speed train in a flooded area by river Elbe near the village Schoenhausen, central Germany, Tuesday, June 11, 2013. Weeks of heavy rain this spring have sent the Elbe, the Danube and other rivers such as the Vltava and the Saale overflowing their banks, causing extensive damage in central and southern Germany, the Czech Republic, Austria, Slovakia and Hungary. (AP Photo/Jens Meyer)
  • Water enclose the rail track of the ICE high speed train in a flooded area by river Elbe near the village Schoenhausen, central Germany, Tuesday, June 11, 2013. Weeks of heavy rain this spring have sent the Elbe, the Danube and other rivers such as the Vltava and the Saale overflowing their banks, causing extensive damage in central and southern Germany, the Czech Republic, Austria, Slovakia and Hungary. (AP Photo/Jens Meyer)
  • Houses stand in a flooded area by river Elbe in the enclosed village Fischbeck, central Germany, Tuesday, June 11, 2013. Weeks of heavy rain this spring have sent the Elbe, the Danube and other rivers such as the Vltava and the Saale overflowing their banks, causing extensive damage in central and southern Germany, the Czech Republic, Austria, Slovakia and Hungary. (AP Photo/Jens Meyer)
  • The bursting of a dike has led to the flooding of village Fischbeck, central Germany, Tuesday, June 11, 2013. Weeks of heavy rain this spring have sent the Elbe, the Danube and other rivers such as the Vltava and the Saale overflowing their banks, causing extensive damage in central and southern Germany, the Czech Republic, Austria, Slovakia and Hungary. (AP Photo/Jens Meyer)
  • The bursting of a dike has led to the flooding of village Fischbeck, central Germany, Tuesday, June 11, 2013. Weeks of heavy rain this spring have sent the Elbe, the Danube and other rivers such as the Vltava and the Saale overflowing their banks, causing extensive damage in central and southern Germany, the Czech Republic, Austria, Slovakia and Hungary. (AP Photo/Jens Meyer)
  • Clouds reflect in the floods by river Elbe near Tangermuende, central Germany, Tuesday, June 11, 2013. Weeks of heavy rain this spring have sent the Elbe, the Danube and other rivers such as the Vltava and the Saale overflowing their banks, causing extensive damage in central and southern Germany, the Czech Republic, Austria, Slovakia and Hungary. (AP Photo/Jens Meyer)

BERLIN — Damage from the past week’s flooding in Germany likely will lead to insurance claims of up to 3 billion euros ($4 billion), a credit rating agency said Tuesday as flood levels on the Elbe river in the country’s north appeared to stabilize.

Further south, the peak of the flood on the Danube — Europe’s second-longest river — moved away from the Hungarian capital, Budapest, toward Serbia.

The Elbe, the Danube and other rivers have overflowed their banks following weeks of heavy rain, causing extensive damage in Germany, the Czech Republic, Austria, Slovakia and Hungary.

Fitch Ratings said that the total cost to insurers of the floods in Germany alone is likely to total between 2.5 billion and 3 billion euros.

That’s well below the expected total cost of the flood damage, which Fitch put at about 12 billion euros. It said the difference is down to the fact that many residents in flood-prone areas may have been unable to get insurance cover for natural hazards, at least at a reasonable price.

There was no immediate estimate available of the flooding’s cost in the other central European countries affected.

In Germany, Chancellor Angela Merkel and the governors of the country’s 16 states plan to discuss the aftermath of the floods at a meeting Thursday.

Waters were receding on the Danube in southern Germany, while the crest of the swollen Elbe river is now making its way through a largely rural swath of the country’s northeast.

By Tuesday, flood levels in the eastern city of Magdeburg were more than 2 feet (about 70 centimeters) below their peak, and water levels further downstream were largely stable. The Interior Ministry said that German authorities have ordered more than 1.6 million unfilled sandbags from other European countries in recent days to help keep pace with their needs.

In Hungary, high flood walls saved most of Budapest from major damage. Prime Minister Viktor Orban said the high waters were expected to exit Hungary for Serbia on Thursday.

“We have ... two difficult days ahead of us,” Orban said. “If we get through those, we will be close to declaring success, but it will demand two more days of intense work and attention.”

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