Authorities were on 24-hour emergency standby in northeastern Greece yesterday as the rising level of the waters of the Evros River flooded 440 hectares of farmland and threatened to create more damage. The water level hit 6.15 meters early yesterday, with the emergency level being at 5.70 meters. Nerves were somewhat calmed later in the afternoon when the level retreated to 5.98 meters after officials opened two manmade dikes that are designed to ease pressure from building up in the river. «The state services have opened up two gates (along the river) and there has also been a technical break in the river’s banks. Our goal is to flood 70 hectares to provide some relief to the river, without meaning that this is the solution to the problem,» said Evros Prefect Nikolaos Zampounidis. Authorities have warned farmers to keep their livestock and machinery away from the river, which has swelled in recent days due to heavy rainfall in the area and an increase in the flow of water from Bulgaria.