Balkan floods prompt massive landslides in Bosnia
Monday, May 19, 2014
SARAJEVO, Bosnia-Herzegovina – The latest floods in the Balkans have triggered around 2,000 landslides in the mountainous regions of Bosnia-Herzegovina, the mayor of the Tuzla Canton in the country's north told Anadolu Agency on Monday.
"About 1,500 of these landslides occurred in Tuzla," Jasmin Imamovic said.
He said scores of volunteers had come to the region to help with the rescue operations.
The landslides have also forced Bosnia to deal another problem: landmines, a legacy of the 1992-95 Bosnian war which killed about 100,000 people.
“A vast number of landslides have worsened the situation […], and there are reports that landmines buried during the conflict, and not yet removed, are in some instances being shifted with the landslides adding danger for people living in the areas as well as for rescuers,” the Red Cross said in a statement on Sunday.
Renowned for its beauty, the town of Zepce in the central Bosnia has also been swallowed by landslides, an Anadolu Agency correspondent reported.
Meanwhile, the city of Samac, the hometown of Bosnia’s first President Alija Izetbegovic, is experiencing the most critical situation amid the disaster, Defense Minister Zekerijah Osmic said Monday.
“I have viewed the city from a helicopter. It was totally submerged by water. It was virtually nonexistent,” Osmic told Anadolu Agency in another of the worst-hit cities of Bosnia, Brcko.
He added that the Presidency of Bosnia-Herzegovina had granted the Defense minister with unlimited authority to use the armed forces for rescue operations.
“We are actively engaged in rescue operations in the north, which had been declared an emergency area following the overflow of the Sava river, and in trying to protect the sandbag walls,” he said.
Citizens and rescue workers are stacking sandbags in order to protect cities from overwhelming waters.
The floods across Bosnia-Herzegovina and Serbia are believed to be the worse in the region in a century.
The death toll reported by Anadolu Agency teams at the scene has risen to 35, while engulfing waters have prompted the evacuation of tens of thousands in the region.
Officials fear the death toll to rise.
Copyright © 2014 Anadolu Agency