Balkan floods cause major damage

Heavy rain in the Balkans has killed three people, forced the evacuation of around 20,000 from inundated areas.

Balkan floods cause major damage

Heavy rain in the Balkans has killed three people, forced the evacuation of around 20,000 from inundated areas and caused more than 340 million euros ($450.8 million) in damage, officials said on Monday.

Three family members were killed when a landslide hit their house in the northeastern Bosnian town of Tuzla on Sunday. A total of 4,000 people have been evacuated in Bosnia so far.

Flooding in nearby Albania, Montenegro, Bosnia and Croatia appears to have caused more damage than high waters in January, adding to the woes of budgets already under strain from the economic crisis. But hydro-electric power plants were producing at top capacity.

Flooding by the Drina River is the worst seen in the last 100 years, authorities said.

Patients were sent home from a hospital in the eastern Bosnian town of Gorazde because its heating system broke down amid power outages. Residents of the town of Shkoder in northern Albania could reach their homes and get supplies only by boat, with pavements at the entrance of town turned into a pier.

Fearing epidemics from rising, sewage-laced waters, authorities were disinfecting parts of Gorazde and pressed villagers unwilling to leave their homes and livestock to join 14,000 people already evacuated.

"Turkish help"

Responding to Albania's appeal for help, Turkey and Greece sent helicopters to ferry food and water to some areas the Albanian navy had been unable to reach for some days.

"The situation is difficult, very difficult," Prime Minister Sali Berisha said. "The water of the Shkoder Lake has doubled in size and even flooded villages in Montenegro. The evacuation will not be short term."

Montenegro and Albania share Lake Skadarsko/Shkoder and the 14,000 hectares of farmland around it in northern Albania looked like an immense lake by Monday, with red rooftops of about 8,000 houses and the tops of electricity pylons dotting the waters.

In Croatia, the richest of the relatively poor Balkan countries aspiring to join the European Union, the agricultural region of Metkovic was most affected by the flooding.

"We're faced with major damage to vegetable crops and tangerines," said Mayor Stipo Gabric-Jambo.

Milorad Dodik, president of the Serb Republic entity that makes up Bosnia along with the Muslim-Croat federation, said flooding this year in the region has led to losses of around 500 million Bosnian marka (250 million euros).


Agencies

Last Mod: 07 Aralık 2010, 11:35
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