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Balkans hit by flooding

06 June 2014

by a staff reporter


"Critical needs": homes, schools, businesses and crop fields were devastated by flood waters 

"Critical needs": homes, schools, businesses and crop fields were devastated by flood waters 

IN THE worst flooding in the Balkans for more than 100 years, about 65 people have died in Bosnia and Serbia.

The Serb city of Obrenovac was worst hit. Flooding affected 90 per cent of the population when the river rose several metres overnight, catching residents by surprise. Now, as the flood waters recede and the clean-up begins, questions are being asked about the speed of the authorities' response to the disaster.

The Prime Minister of Serbia, Aleksandar Vucic, has responded by blaming local authorities and bloggers for stoking public feeling. Three Facebook users are reported to have been questioned by police after being accused of "spreading panic" online.

The UK, together with other countries, has sent aid, and is also sending experts who helped in therecent flooding of the Somerset Levels.

The charity Samaritan's Purse is active in the region. It has emergency relief teams on the ground distributing cleaning kits and food to church leaders. In Bosnia, teams are working in communities made up of many people who were refugees from the Balkan War in 1990, after fleeing from Sarajevo.

Stoja Anicic, a grandmother, told relief workers: "This is the second time we have lost everything, and are starting from zero."

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