22 May 2014
The British Red Cross has launched an appeal to help hundreds of thousands of people affected by widespread flooding in the Balkans.
Across Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina, communities are struggling to come to terms with the region’s worst floods in more than a century.
Three months’ worth of rain fell in the space of a few days leaving towns submerged, livelihoods in ruins and triggering landslides. The floods have reportedly left more than 50 people dead.
Almost one third of Bosnia and Herzegovina has been hit by flooding while a state of emergency has been declared in Serbia. The Red Cross societies in both countries are helping in rescue operations and are distributing aid to those affected.
More than 30,000 people have been evacuated across Serbia while 120,000 households are currently without electricity or phone lines.
Belgrade City and the towns of Obrenovac and Lazarevac are the worst hit regions.
Landslides have hit a number of areas while there are fears of further flooding in the coming days as water levels in the rivers Sava and Danube continue to rise.
The Red Cross of Serbia is helping with evacuations and search and rescue efforts.
Red Cross staff and volunteers have been distributing emergency relief items such as food parcels, blankets and clothes, while emergency shelters have also been set up.
Bosnia and Herzegovina
In Bosnia and Herzegovina, more than 100,000 people have been affected and a state of emergency has been declared in a number of districts.
The flooding has left towns and villages under water, triggered a number of landslides and caused widespread damage to infrastructure.
There are also fears that the landslides may have dislodged landmines buried during the country’s conflict, increasing the dangers faced by locals and rescuers.
The Red Cross Society of Bosnia and Herzegovina has been helping in rescue operations and has also set up emergency shelters for those evacuated.
Staff and volunteers are distributing relief items such as food, blankets and drinking water, but efforts are being hampered by destroyed roads and difficult conditions in the field.
Money raised from the British Red Cross appeal will go towards helping the relief effort in countries affected by the flooding.