The floods in B&H and Serbia have killed over 40 people, displaced hundreds of thousands and destroyed more than 100 000 homes. Now citizens are facing the hard task of cleaning up the rubble left after the water has withdrawn from their homes.
Meteorologists have explained that the persistent, flooding rainfall come as a result of a strong disturbance in the jet stream which closed off into a swirling, stuck upper-level low near the Balkans instead of sweeping through.
Consequently three months worth of rain were dumped onto the region in just three days.
Around a million people are without drinking water in Bosnia alone. Foreign media are comparing the size of the flooded territory to the territory of Israel or Slovenia, reporting that if there is something that brings hope, it is the rediscovered solidarity of the people in former Yugoslavia.
Indeed help for the flood affected areas has come from all sides of the former state; neighbors are lending a helping hand to one another.
B&H and Serbia are continuing to call out for international help as they face the long process of healing.
Floods have given rise to problems with landslides as well as the ever-present problem of unexploded landmines which the water has disbursed throughout the flooded territory.
The road infrastructure has been badly damaged by the floods. “The physical destruction is nothing less than the destruction caused by the war,” says Zlatko Lagumdzija, the country’s foreign minister.
The citizens of B&H’s city Doboj explain that a flood wave swept through the city in a matter of minutes, measuring 5 meters in height and not leaving time for thought. They are still in a state of shock unable to comprehend that such a mass amount of water could sweep their town away.
“We didn’t know something like this could happen. We fled our apartment, we didn’t have time to take anything with us. My husband is 87 years old and disabled, we have nowhere to go. Our neighbor has taken us in. Everything has been destroyed, neighbors are helping me clear everything out. I won’t be able to save anything“, explained Stojanka Ločki, a citizen of Doboj whose home has been flooded.
Emergency aid agencies are warning that in some areas decaying corpses of drowned farm animals pose a major health risk, as bacteria and other diseases spread.
International relief efforts have begun. The US is sending 26 tons of humanitarian aid to the Balkans, while Russia and EU member states have sent rescue teams, humanitarian aid, water pumps and generators.