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Thousands evacuated in Western Balkans flooding

by Staff Writers
Belgrade (AFP) Dec 3, 2010
Flooding caused by rivers swollen by heavy rainfall forced thousands of people from their homes in Albania, Bosnia, Serbia and Montenegro on Friday, officials said.

More than 7,000 people were moved to safer areas in Albania, where Prime Minister Sali Berisha described the situation as "very serious".

Berisha said that "millions of hectares (acres) of land are flooded, over 7,000 people are already evacuated and the evacuations of other families threatened by the flood water continues".

Thousands of houses were damaged and roads linking the capital Tirana to the north of the country were completely blocked, local authorities reported.

In Bosnia authorities declared a state of emergency for the eastern towns of Bijeljina, Visegrad and Zvornik along the Drina river which is the natural border between Bosnia and Serbia.

Troops moved in to the villages surrounding northeastern Bijeljina after some 1,000 homes were flooded and the inhabitants were evacuated.

Because of the fast flow in the Drina, "two-thirds of the village was flooded within several hours", local official Drago Ristic told Srna Bosnian Serb news agency.

Across the border in Serbia, at least 1,400 people were evacuated from the town of Loznica. More than 3,000 more people were at risk from the flooding of the Drina in the area of Loznica, Serbia's interior ministry said.

In Montenegro around 1,300 people were evacuated due to the "unprecedented" floods that hit the country, Interior Minister Ivan Brajovic said.

burs-sb/br




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Torrential rains have killed at least 31 people in recent days as the South American country grapples with its worst flooding in 40 years, officials said Thursday. "We continue our search and rescue mission," Interior Minister Tarek El Aissami told reporters as he noted that another three people were still missing. Authorities have set up 319 shelters across the country for those left ho ... read more

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