Russia, EU join flood relief efforts in Serbia, Bosnia

BELGRADE Sun May 18, 2014 5:15am EDT

1 of 11. People stand in their apartments as they wait to be evacuated in the flooded town of Obrenovac, southwest of Belgrade, Serbia May 17, 2014.

Credit: Reuters/Marko Djurica

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BELGRADE (Reuters) - Two Russian cargo planes carrying food, generators and rescue boats landed in Serbia on Sunday as part of a relief effort after the worst floods in over a century killed more than 20 people in the Balkan country and neighboring Bosnia.

River levels were still rising in the Serbian capital Belgrade and west towards the Bosnian border, threatening power stations where volunteers joined the army and emergency services in building sandbag barriers.

Tens of thousands of homes were without electricity in Serbia and around 150,000 in Bosnia, where whole swathes of the northeast of the country were under water.

In the worst-hit Serbian town of Obrenovac, waters receded overnight, easing rescue efforts. Authorities say there are fatalities after huge parts of the town, about 30 km (18 miles) southwest of Belgrade, were submerged under water.

"I carried my kids out on my back, then waited 12 hours to be rescued myself," said 40-year-old Obrenovac resident Dragan Todorovic, who spent the night in a Belgrade sports hall with dozens of other families. "The house was new, built two years ago for 100,000 euros. What now?"

Three people were confirmed dead in Serbia by Friday, following days of the heaviest rainfall since records began almost 120 years ago.

In Bosnia, the death toll reached 19 on Saturday, with nine bodies recovered from the northeastern town of Doboj after what the regional police chief described as a "tsunami" of water 3-4 meters high.

Rescue teams and humanitarian aid, water pumps and generators have arrived from Russia and several European Union member states, including Britain, Germany and Austria, as well as Serbia and Bosnia's fellow former ex-Yugoslav republic Montenegro, Croatia and Slovenia.

Authorities say the economic impact of the floods will be huge, devastating the agricultural sector that is vital to both the Serbian and Bosnian economies.

(Writing by Matt Robinson; Editing by Andrew Heavens)

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Comments (4)
auger wrote:
I surfed a few news outlets looking for how many viewers had selected this disaster from the usual ‘news cycle’ menus and confirmed it’s rising popularity. This might have been Poland, Italy, Germany, – or Alabama or Boston. I wonder at the lack of comment for this nation of recently homeless

May 17, 2014 9:16pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
Ivanah wrote:
You should write how Croatia, Macedonia, Slovenia and the whole region is trying to help with donations, food etc. This is only good news in this situation and it should be strongly stressed out to to our bloody history.

May 18, 2014 4:51pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
carlmartel wrote:
Disputes between power alliances come and go, but this kind of disaster can happen to anyone. Also, it’s not surprising that the super power that is Slavic in origins should assist Slavs who are in need. It’s also not surprising that the European Union moved to help European countries.

May 18, 2014 5:48pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
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