Foreign Aid Arrives as Serbia, Bosnia Struggle with Record Floods

By Gordana Filipovic | May 19, 2014

International aid from the Baltics to the Bosporus began flowing to Serbia and Bosnia after the worst flooding on record swamped towns and farms, leaving 34 dead and thousands homeless.

The United Nations flew life-saving equipment to Belgrade shortly before midnight and another plane with emergency food and water supplies was expected today, the Serbian Interior Ministry said in an e-mailed statement today.

Serbia declared a state of emergency on May 15 in the wake of rainfall-triggered floods that left 17 dead in the largest former Yugoslav republic, 16 in neighboring Bosnia and one in Croatia. Governments were still calculating the impact and Serbia has turned to Russia and the European Union for emergency assistance as the rains ruined homes, roads, dams, railroads and crops of wheat and corn.

Russia, Poland, the Czech Republic and neighboring Bulgaria and Turkey are among countries offering assistance.

In Serbia, about 25,000 people were evacuated and 26,000 homes left without electricity overnight, while rescuers struggled to save towns and villages along swelling rivers and keep water away from the main power generating facilities near Belgrade, the Interior Ministry said in e-mail today.

Local police sealed off a city of Obrenovac today and banned return to its citizens amid disease threats.

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