Contact Us
Make My Homepage

Thousands Await Evacuation from Balkan Floods

Samira Mahmic thought she was getting her life back when she was winched into a helicopter with her 10-year-old son clinging to her amid the worst flooding in more than a century in the Balkans.

But she froze when she realized the helicopter was now fully loaded and she looked down to see her 17-year-old daughter Amina, watching in disbelief as the aircraft left her behind on a roof sticking out of a sea of water.

“I thought they would go back but it got too late last night,” Mahmic said Friday.

A member of the Bosnian army carries a boy rescued from his home, during floods, in the Bosnian town of Maglaj, 150 kms north of Sarajevo, Friday May 16, 2014. (AP Photo/Amel Emric)

Luckily her daughter’s mobile phone still had some battery Friday morning and Mahmic was able to reassure herself that her daughter and husband were both still alive.

“It’s Judgment Day in Maglaj,” Mahmic said of her northern Bosnian hometown that was hit by the heaviest rainfall since measuring started 120 years ago.

Rain-swollen rivers across the Balkans have flooded roads, cut off power and caused more than 200 landslides.

Two people died in Serbia on Thursday, and on Friday the waters took two lives in Bosnia. The wall of a house collapsed and killed an elderly man, and a landslide in the eastern town of Cerska killed one woman, police said.

In Cerska the mud has pushed the mosque some 100 meters down the slope and only the minaret is still visible. One more person is missing after a rescue boat turned over and he disappeared in the water.

In Serbia 6,000 people have been forced out of their homes.

“In three days, as much rain fell as normally falls in three months,” said Goran Mihajlovic, of Serbia’s Meteorological Institute.

“Statistically, such rainfall happens once in 100 years,” he added.

Both Bosnia and Serbia have requested international help and a Russian emergency team has flown in to join the rescue efforts. Croatia and Slovenia have sent two helicopters and rescuers. Luxembourg is sending 23 rescuers with six boats and Austria offered six boats, Bosnia’s Security Ministry said.

Sasa Obradovic from Bosnia’s Mine Action Center said floods and landslides have moved some of the minefields that contaminate Bosnia since the 1992-95 war.

Mahmic sobbed as she described seeing from the helicopter on Thursday people on roofs and balconies waving baby clothes, signaling they are trapped with small infants. Water had reached second floors.

After having dug through landslides for three days, rescuers on Friday reached Maglaj by road and are delivering boats, blankets and food to the desperate population.

 

© 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Learn more about our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.

Best of the Web


Leave a Comment

It appears that you already have an account created within our VIP network of sites on . To keep your points and personal information safe, we need to verify that it's really you. To activate your account, please confirm your password. When you have confirmed your password, you will be able to log in through Facebook on both sites.

Forgot your password?

*Please note that your points, prizes and activities will not be shared between programs within our VIP network.

It appears that you already have an account on this site associated with . To connect your existing account with your Facebook account, just click on the account activation button below. You will maintain your existing profile and VIP program points. After you do this, you will be able to always log in to http://nj1015.com using your Facebook account.

*Please note that your points, prizes and activities will not be shared between programs within our VIP network.

Please fill out the information below to help us provide you a better experience.

Register on New Jersey 101.5 quickly by logging in with your Facebook account. It's just as secure, and no password to remember!

Not a Member? Sign Up Here

Register on New Jersey 101.5 quickly by logging in with your Facebook account. It's just as secure, and no password to remember!