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December 4, 2021

Balkans flooding: Victims of disaster face homelessness

At least three dozen people have been killed and tens of thousands of others forced to flee their homes in the Balkans during the worst flooding in over a century for the region, but finally, there’s a little good news, weather.com informs. Though water levels in the Danube River continued to rise, authorities were hopeful that the devastated region would be spared by Europe’s second-largest river.
The flooding in Bosnia, Serbia, and to a somewhat lesser extent, Croatia, started on Thursday after a slow-moving system dumped three-months worth of rain onto the region in just three days.
“A strong disturbance in the jet stream closed off into a swirling, stuck upper-level low near the Balkans, instead of sweeping through,” said weather.com senior meteorologist Jon Erdman. “The result is persistent, flooding rainfall.”
Serbia’s Hydro Institute said the Danube’s levels will surge in coming days but should remain within the limits of flood defenses, even as smaller swollen rivers, such as the Sava, flow in. Authorities in towns and villages along the Danube said they were watching the situation closely. The flooding in Serbia, Bosnia and Croatia in past days has forced half a million people out of their homes and led to at least three dozen deaths. In Serbia, the floods have been threatening the country’s biggest power plant, while in Bosnia there is danger from the shifting of mine fields left over from the country’s war. But the worst of the flooding may not be over yet. Though the weather in the region has improved dramatically since Thursday, weather.com meteorologist Jon Erdman said that flooding downstream, especially in the Serbian capital of Belgrade, will continue over the coming days.
Both Serbia and Bosnia have appealed for international help, saying damage from the flooding will be measured in billions. The two countries still have not fully recovered from wars of 1990s, which claimed 100,000 lives and left millions homeless.
In Bosnia, many people who have only just rebuilt their homes after the war have faced a new calamity with the flooding. The government said Tuesday it was considering giving land for free to compensate partly for the damage.
Bosnia declared Tuesday a day of mourning, while Serbia’s government said it would mourn its dead Wednesday-Friday.

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