Serbian gendarmerie police officers walk in a flooded
street in the town of Lazarevac, south of Belgrade.
The heaviest rains and floods in 120 years have hit
Bosnia and Serbia, killing five people, forcing hundreds out of
their homes and cutting off entire towns.
The five casualties, one of them a firefighter on a rescue
mission, drowned in Serbia. Bosnia and Serbia declared a
state of emergency, while the Serbian Orthodox church said it
would hold special prayers in Belgrade for the rain to stop.
"This is the greatest flooding disaster ever. Not only in the
past 100 years; this has never happened in Serbia's history,"
Serbia's Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic told a news
conference. "More rain fell in one day than in four months."
In Bosnia, army helicopters evacuated dozens of people
stranded on the top floors of their flooded homes in the
central town of Maglaj, where the Bosna river swelled to
record levels and swept away the main bridge. Rescuers used
boats to reach stranded victims.
Doctors said one man in eastern Bosnia died of a heart attack
while trying to save his cattle from drowning.
Special police were trying to reach the northern Bosnian town
of Doboj, which was cut off from the rest of the country
after all major roads out were flooded.
The Bosnian government ordered the defence ministry to use
troops to help thousands of civilians whose homes were
engulfed by water, particularly in the central and eastern
"This is the worst rainfall in Bosnia since 1894, when
weather measurements started to be recorded," said Zeljko
Majstorovic, a Sarajevo meteorologist. He said the rain,
which began on Tuesday, would continue until the end of the
Many roads were deluged and towns and villages completely cut
off. Schools were closed across both countries.
Serbian Energy Minister Aleksandar Antic said power supplies
were cut to around 100,000 households, mostly in central
Serbia's power utility Elektroprivreda Srbije (EPS) said that
high water levels on the Morava river had forced it to halt
two hydro power plants there.
A major highway from Belgrade to Macedonia and Bulgaria was
flooded and the traffic interrupted. The main south-bound
railway line to Montenegro's port of Bar was also closed
down, as well as the one linking Doboj in Bosnia to Belgrade.
Bosnia's utilities, Elektroprivreda BiH and Elektroprivreda
RS, said around 50,000 households were without electricity
across the Balkan country.