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Red Cross responds to flooding in Balkans

20 May 2014

The Red Cross is helping with rescue operations as flooding in the Balkans continues to affect tens of thousands of people.  

The worst floods in more than a century have submerged large parts of both Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina following unprecedented levels of rainfall.

Almost one third of Bosnia and Herzegovina is affected and a state of emergency has been declared in 14 municipalities.

The Serbian Red Cross and the Red Cross Society of Bosnia and Herzegovina are playing an active role in rescue operations and the British Red Cross has launched an appeal to help those in need.

Landslides and evacuations

The cities of Maglaj and Doboj, in Bosnia and Herzegovina, are almost completely submerged and hundreds of people had to be evacuated from rooftops on Saturday.

The rain has caused landslides raising fears that they may have dislodged landmines buried during the country’s conflict, further exacerbating the dangers faced by locals and rescuers. 

In Serbia, thousands of people have so far been evacuated from flood-hit areas while around 10,000 people are reportedly stranded in the town of Obrenovac, south west of the capital Belgrade.

The town is home to the country’s largest power station, which is at risk of flooding.

Red Cross response

In Serbia, specially trained Red Cross teams, as well as thousands of staff and volunteers, are helping with evacuations and distributing blankets, rubber boots and tinned food.  

In Bosnia and Herzegovina, Red Cross staff and volunteers are helping with evacuations and have provided items such as blankets, mattresses, drinking water, food and hygiene kits to people affected.  

Brcko, a town in the north east of the country, is one of the worst affected areas. Red Cross volunteers have been helping to build sand banks along the swollen River Sava to try to prevent it from flooding dozens of nearby villages that are still in danger.