Balkans Submerged by Historic Floods Threatening Thousands
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Marko Djurica / Reuters2
Kemal Zorlak / Anadolu via Getty Images3
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Marko Djurica / Reuters5
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Marko Djurica / Reuters7
Ismail Duru / Anadolu via Getty Images8
More than 20 dead, thousands evacuated in Bosnia, Serbia floods
(Reuters) – More than 20 people have been killed in the worst floods in more than a century in Serbia and Bosnia, authorities said on Saturday, with thousands evacuated from towns still under threat from rising rivers.
The death toll in Bosnia alone reached 19, including nine found on Saturday when waters receded from the northeastern town of Doboj.
Thousands of volunteers joined soldiers, police and fire-fighters in building flood barriers made of sandbags in the Serbian capital Belgrade and the western town of Sabac.
The River Sava hit its highest-recorded level in Serbia, the army said, rising at a rate of three centimeters (one inch) per hour after several days of the heaviest rainfall in almost 120 years.
Three people were confirmed dead in Serbia by Friday, and Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic said there were more fatalities in the town of Obrenovac, 30 km (18 miles) southwest of Belgrade, where soldiers deployed huge amphibious vehicles to rescue hundreds of people crammed into a primary school.
Authorities in Serbia said they would not give a death toll for Obrenovac, a town of some 30,000 people, until the waters had receded and the extent of the damage was clear.
A Reuters photographer said the entire town center was submerged under two to three meters (seven to 10 feet) of water.
Tens of thousands of homes in Serbia were cut off from electricity and around 150,000 in Bosnia, where Doboj suffered the most.