Berlin, Jun 29 (AP) Authorities in Austria declared a civil emergency on Wednesday after some villages in the southern state of Carinthia were cut off by mudslides and flooding following heavy rainfall. Two people were reportedly missing.

Residents of the villages of Treffen and Arriach were told to seek safety in the upper levels of their houses, public broadcaster ORF reported.

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Several people who were trapped in their homes had to be airlifted to safety by helicopter.

The mayor of Treffen, Gerald Ebner, said 20 homes and farms could not be reached by rescue teams.

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“We are trying to get the situation under control somehow," Ebner told Austrian news agency APA. "Currently, we are waiting for heavy equipment from the Austrian Armed Forces, which we urgently need.”

According to witnesses, a car driver was swept away by masses of water and an 82-year-old man was also missing. Rescue teams with dogs were searching the area, ORF reported.

A storm late on Tuesday had brought severe winds and heavy rain to the region and authorities warned that the threat of further landslides amid normally small creeks that have turned into rushing streams by the rain was great.

Markus Mueller from the Arriach volunteer fire department told ORF that a main state road that runs through the Gegendtal valley to Arriach was also severely damaged.

“It is completely torn away in several places," Mueller said adding that several districts in the flooded area had no electricity or drinking water, and that cell phone reception and landline connections were interrupted in some parts of the flooded region.

Emergency services, residents and numerous volunteers have been busy since the early morning hours clearing mud from basements, garages and ground floors, ORF reported. (AP)

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