Thursday 29 January 2015

Bosnia floods trigger 3,000 landslides and unearth mines

Vesna Peric Zimonjic in Belgrade

Published 19/05/2014 | 02:30

REFILE - CORRECTING DIRECTION OF TOWN FROM BELGRADE 
Serbian army soldiers evacuate people in amphibious vehicles in the flooded town of Obrenovac, southwest of Belgrade, May 17, 2014. Emergency services pulled seven dead bodies from flooded homes in Bosnia on Saturday and soldiers rushed to free hundreds of people stranded in a school in Serbia during the worst floods to hit the Balkans in over a century. REUTERS/Marko Djurica (SERBIA - Tags: DISASTER ENVIRONMENT MILITARY)
Serbian army soldiers evacuate people in amphibious vehicles in the flooded town of Obrenovac, southwest of Belgrade, May 17, 2014. Emergency services pulled seven dead bodies from flooded homes in Bosnia on Saturday and soldiers rushed to free hundreds of people stranded in a school in Serbia during the worst floods to hit the Balkans in over a century. REUTERS/Marko Djurica (SERBIA - Tags: DISASTER ENVIRONMENT MILITARY)
People wait in their homes to be rescued, like this young boy, in the flooded town of Obrenovac, southwest of Belgrade. Emergency services pulled seven dead bodies from flooded homes in Bosnia over the weekend. Below the high waters have sunk roads and cars
A Bosnian man waves as he delivers food to people in the village of Dvorovi, near Bijeljina 200 kms north of Sarajevo, Bosnia, Saturday May 17, 2014. Packed into buses, boats and helicopters, carrying nothing but a handful of belongings, tens of thousands fled their homes Saturday in Bosnia and Serbia, seeking to escape the worst flooding in a century. Authorities said 20 people have died but warned the death toll could rise further. (AP Photo/Amel Emric)
People evacuate in boats in the flooded town of Obrenovac, southwest of Belgrade, May 17, 2014. Emergency services pulled seven dead bodies from flooded homes in Bosnia on Saturday and soldiers rushed to free hundreds of people stranded in a school in Serbia during the worst floods to hit the Balkans in over a century. REUTERS/Marko Djurica (SERBIA - Tags: DISASTER ENVIRONMENT MILITARY)
People evacuate in a boat in the flooded town of Obrenovac, southwest of Belgrade, May 17, 2014. Emergency services pulled seven dead bodies from flooded homes in Bosnia on Saturday and soldiers rushed to free hundreds of people stranded in a school in Serbia during the worst floods to hit the Balkans in over a century. REUTERS/Marko Djurica (SERBIA - Tags: DISASTER ENVIRONMENT)
People evacuate in boats in the flooded town of Obrenovac, southwest of Belgrade, May 17, 2014. Emergency services pulled seven dead bodies from flooded homes in Bosnia on Saturday and soldiers rushed to free hundreds of people stranded in a school in Serbia during the worst floods to hit the Balkans in over a century. REUTERS/Marko Djurica (SERBIA - Tags: DISASTER ENVIRONMENT MILITARY)
A Serbian army soldier throws candy bars to people as they are evacuated a boat in the flooded town of Obrenovac, southwest of Belgrade, May 17, 2014. Emergency services pulled seven dead bodies from flooded homes in Bosnia on Saturday and soldiers rushed to free hundreds of people stranded in a school in Serbia during the worst floods to hit the Balkans in over a century. REUTERS/Marko Djurica (SERBIA - Tags: DISASTER ENVIRONMENT MILITARY)
Serbian army soldiers evacuate people in a boat in the flooded town of Obrenovac, southwest of Belgrade, May 17, 2014. Emergency services pulled seven dead bodies from flooded homes in Bosnia on Saturday and soldiers rushed to free hundreds of people stranded in a school in Serbia during the worst floods to hit the Balkans in over a century. REUTERS/Marko Djurica (SERBIA - Tags: DISASTER ENVIRONMENT MILITARY)
Serbian army soldiers evacuate people in amphibious vehicle in the flooded town of Obrenovac, southwest of Belgrade, May 17, 2014. Emergency services pulled seven dead bodies from flooded homes in Bosnia on Saturday and soldiers rushed to free hundreds of people stranded in a school in Serbia during the worst floods to hit the Balkans in over a century. REUTERS/Marko Djurica (SERBIA - Tags: DISASTER ENVIRONMENT MILITARY)
People help old women out of a military truck during evacuation from Obrenovac, some 30 kilometers (18 miles) southwest of Belgrade Serbia, Saturday, May 17, 2014. Record flooding in the Balkans leaves at least 20 people dead in Serbia and Bosnia and is forcing tens of thousands to flee their homes. Meteorologists say the flooding is the worst since records began 120 years ago. (AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic)
People look at a flooded street in the town of Obrenovac, southwest of Belgrade, May 16, 2014. The heaviest rains and floods in 120 years have hit Bosnia and Serbia, killing five people, forcing hundreds out of their homes and cutting off entire towns. REUTERS/Marko Djurica (SERBIA - Tags: DISASTER ENVIRONMENT)
A dog stands in a flooded street in the town of Obrenovac, southwest of Belgrade, May 16, 2014. The heaviest rains and floods in 120 years have hit Bosnia and Serbia, killing five people, forcing hundreds out of their homes and cutting off entire towns. REUTERS/Marko Djurica (SERBIA - Tags: DISASTER ENVIRONMENT ANIMALS)
A Serbian army soldier rows a boat as he searches for people to be evacuated in the town of Obrenovac, southwest of Belgrade, May 16, 2014. The heaviest rains and floods in 120 years have hit Bosnia and Serbia, killing five people, forcing hundreds out of their homes and cutting off entire towns. REUTERS/Marko Djurica (SERBIA - Tags: DISASTER ENVIRONMENT MILITARY)
A woman cries after being evacuated from her flooded house in the town of Obrenovac, southwest of Belgrade, May 16, 2014. The heaviest rains and floods in 120 years have hit Bosnia and Serbia, killing five people, forcing hundreds out of their homes and cutting off entire towns. REUTERS/Marko Djurica (SERBIA - Tags: DISASTER ENVIRONMENT)
People stand on a terrace of their flooded house as they wait to be evacuated in the town of Obrenovac, southwest of Belgrade, May 16, 2014. The heaviest rains and floods in 120 years have hit Bosnia and Serbia, killing five people, forcing hundreds out of their homes and cutting off entire towns. REUTERS/Marko Djurica (SERBIA - Tags: DISASTER ENVIRONMENT)
A Serbian army soldier evacuates people from a school in the flooded town of Obrenovac, southwest of Belgrade, May 17, 2014. Emergency services pulled seven dead bodies from flooded homes in Bosnia on Saturday and soldiers rushed to free hundreds of people stranded in a school in Serbia during the worst floods to hit the Balkans in over a century. REUTERS/Marko Djurica (SERBIA - Tags: DISASTER ENVIRONMENT MILITARY)
People wait in their homes to be rescued, like this young boy, in the flooded town of Obrenovac, southwest of Belgrade. Emergency services pulled seven dead bodies from flooded homes in Bosnia over the weekend. Below the high waters have sunk roads and cars

At least 37 people have died and tens of thousands are left homeless in the worst flooding to hit the Balkans since records began.

Three months worth of rain fell in three days last week in Bosnia, Croatia and Serbia in a deluge described as catastrophic by government and emergency officials.

In Bosnia, a third of the country is under water, mostly in northern and eastern areas. A quarter of the four million population live in the affected areas.

At least 19 people have died in the flooding, which has also led to the displacement of landmines.

Heavy landslides have moved landmines and minefields from the 1992-95 war and warning signs at some 9,000 spots.

It is estimated that some 120,000 landmines remain in Bosnia.

About 600 people have been killed by mines in the country since 1995.

Sarajevo Mine Action Centre official Sasa Obradovic said: "Besides the mines, a lot of weapons were thrown into the rivers, lying idle for almost 20 years."

Croatia is also fighting to cope with the effects of the flooding, with two confirmed deaths and earth walls being built along the Sava and Danube rivers.

In Serbia, 12 bodies were recovered in the flooded town of Obrenovac, about 20 miles south-west of the capital, Belgrade.

"What happened to us happens once in a thousand years," Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic said at a press conference yesterday.

"We have managed to avoid the worst catastrophe thanks to good organisation.

"The end is not close, but today is much better than yesterday."

The countries stand along the Sava river. Its swollen tributaries made bridges disappear in minutes, while roads and railways were cut within hours. The tops of traffic signs were just visible yesterday under three or four metres of water.

The Sava is now threatening Belgrade, which lies at the confluence of the Sava and the Danube. River banks are being enforced and volunteers have stacked sandbags.

More than 24,000 people were evacuated from the hardest hit Serbian towns and are being accommodated in sports halls, hotels and schools. The EU and Russia have offered assistance.

"It doesn't help that the sun shines today and that it's warm outside," said Natasa Marjanovic (33) from Obrenovac. She and her two young children are staying at a sports hall in one of the Serbian capital's suburbs.

"My heart is cold after what I've seen and what I've left behind," she added. (© Independent News Service)

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