BUDAPEST- Flood waters rose in easternGermanySaturday, forcing the evacuation of homes and a hospital, asHungarypropped up its defences against centralEurope's worst floods in a decade.

Elsewhere, the Austrian interior ministry confirmed that four people had been killed and two were still missing, raising the death toll inEuropefrom the past week's floods to at least 18, including 10 in theCzechRepublic, which has warned of renewed flood risks.

Legions of soldiers and volunteers worked through the night to reinforce dykes and repair leaks in easternGermanyand inHungary.

Throughout the German state of Saxony-Anhalt, thousands of residents have been evacuated from their homes as water levels on theElberiver -- already at record levels in the past few days -- continued to rise by some two centimetres (0.8 inches) every two hours, according to officials.

In Bitterfeld, patients had to be removed from a hospital as a dyke threatened to burst, and in the nearby medieval city ofMagdeburg, flooded roads forced the evacuations of several old people's homes.

In Muehlberg, a town in Branbenburg state that was already evacuated in the last few days, the situation remained "very tense," said local police spokeswoman Ines Filohn. Some 900 soldiers and volunteers overnight there had to build an emergency road so hundreds of trucks could gain easier access to a dyke that needed to be reinforced.

"We need to protect the dykes no matter what," said Wolfgang Brandt, a spokesman of theBrandenburgstate crisis centre.

Along theDanube,Hungarywas next in line to suffer from the rising waters, with the flood expected to peak on Monday morning inBudapest.

"It is now certain that the water level will not exceed 9.0 metres (30 feet) inBudapest," Mayor Istvan Tarlos said Saturday.

However, this would still surpass the 2006 historical record of 8.60 metres.

Some 1,500 people had already been evacuated in the northwest ofHungary, where the river has reached record levels in several locations.

Emergency workers and volunteers worked overnight to reinforce leaking dykes, build missing barrier sections or remove water, and extra truck drivers were called in to help transport sandbags to affected areas.

"We will defend every section of dyke and protect every single person, we won't leave anybody in danger in their houses," Prime Minister Viktor Orban said at a press conference Saturday.

By Saturday morning, Orban said 972 people -- including 188 people inBudapest-- had been evacuated by authorities from their homes. "We're doing well, as we haven't lost any lives, or suffered serious injuries yet," he added.

Meanwhile, the bridge linkingSlovakiaandHungaryat Esztergom was closed to traffic early Saturday.

TheDanubewas still rising in southern Slovak towns and villages, downstream fromBratislava, and was expected to culminate in the afternoon.

In theCzechRepublic, the clean-up effort was under way to remove the thick layer of muck left behind by the retreating waters, but Prime Minister Petr Necas warned that "the floods are not over."

With more heavy rains expected in the next few days, the soaked ground would not be able to absorb any more water and anti-flood precautions were to stay in place, according to the authorities.

Meteorologists in westernAustria, one of the first regions hit by the floods last weekend, also warned that new rain in the coming days could trigger more flooding and landslides in the alpine valleys.