Vilna Cut off by Floods: Communication Only by Boat: Swollen River Still Rising: House-doors Furnict
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Vilna Cut off by Floods: Communication Only by Boat: Swollen River Still Rising: House-doors Furnict

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The famous city of Vilna, known as the “Jerusalem of Lithuania”, with a Jewish population estimated at 50,000, over one-third of the total number of inhabitants, is suffering severely from the floods caused by the rising of the River Vilja, on which it stands. The town is practically cut off, the waters reaching a level of about 21 feet ab normal, and still rising, and communication is possible only by boat. Bridges have been broken down and cattle, horses, doors of houses, furniture and household utensils are being carried away. For the length of a kilometre the river is a raging flood. The lower parts of Vilna are under water, the worst sufferer being the suburb of Zarzecze, where the Zygmuntowska, Fabryczna, Batorego and other streets are completely submerged. The residents, largely Jews, have been evacuated, abandoning everything they possessed.

In Slonim the floods continue to rise and there, too, communication is possible now only by boat. Several bridges have had to be destroyed, to prevent them collapsing and injuring people.

The towns of Grodno, Lida, Osmiany, Smorgon, Danilowicz, Molodeczno, Disna, and others in the neighbourhood are also menaced by the rising of the Rivers Niemen, Vilja and Swislocz.

Ten Jewish children were trapped by the floods in one of the houses of the town of Ryezhitsa, where the River Ryezhitsa has overflowed. Terror-stricken, they took refuge on cupboards and tables, while the waters kept steadily rising, and would-be rescuers were unable to get near. The local Police Chief Karklin, finally got several policemen to go with him to the house, and wading in with the water up to their necks, they succeeded in saving all ten children. The Jewish population of Ryezhitsa is overcome with gratitude to Police Chief Karklin, who is the hero of the day in the town.

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