Thousands of people were forced to abandon their homes Saturday as the Sava River broke through defenses and began to flood Serbia, Croatia, and Bosnia. As the flood worsened, waters rising up to the second floor of houses, people who had not yet been evacuated had to seek safety on their roofs. Many of the homes in the affected area of Serbia that were not destroyed are without electricity and drinking water.
Rain has been falling in Serbia, and its surrounding countries, for the past 4 days.
According to weather.com Senior Meteorologist Jon Erdman, “A strong disturbance in the jet stream closed off into a swirling, stuck upper-level low near the Balkans, instead of sweeping through. The result is persistent, flooding rainfall.”
In Obrenovac, Serbia, the Nikola Tesla power plant is being threatened by the severe flood. After the flood reached a nearby coal mine, plant capacity was cut and residents were given the advice to reduce their energy usage.
Aleksandar Vucic, Prime Minister of Serbia, warned that there would be more flooding from the Sava River on Sunday.
“Our primary concern is to protect the power plant,” said Vucic. “We are doing all we can.”
In Bosnia, the flood has caused another disaster.
Landslides have been a result of the flood. As destructive as landslides are, there’s another, more subtle, problem: The landslides that were triggered by the flood uncovered land mines from the 90’s war in Bosnia. They also destroyed the signs that had been placed around the minefield. This is an issue that can cause more tragedy long after the flood has cleared.
Volunteers have been flowing into Serbia, Bosnia, and Croatia. They are attempting to build up flood defenses along the Sava River.
Marinko Trivunovic, a volunteer, said, “You can feel the solidarity everywhere. People are doing everything they can. I am seeing children and older people shoveling sand and carrying sandbags and no one finds this labor hard.”
Novak Djokovic, hailed as Serbia’s best tennis player, is calling for more media coverage on the disaster that’s claimed over 20 lives so far:
“I see on CNN and BBC, and other big networks, there’s a lot of talk about the miners in Turkey and so forth and it’s another disaster. But no broadcast about Serbia and this is the biggest flood that I’ve ever seen and maybe that Europe has ever seen. This is incredible. So I hope people can find the common sense and broadcast this a little bit and spread the awareness of what’s going on.”
That was on top of a tweet requesting more volunteers. “Support for everyone! Let’s help the endangered! Join the aid action!” he tweeted.
In a flood like this one, people lose everything. Once the waters recede and people are able to begin again they will need everything. Any, and all, aid that can be given would be appreciated by the victims of the flood.
[ Image via Darko Vojinovic ]