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State of emergency declared after severe floods hit Serbia and Bosnia


Severe floods forced authorities to declare a state of emergency in Serbia on Tuesday, June 23, 2020. Approximately 700 houses were inundated, bridges were damaged, as well as roads and power lines.​ Residents were left in a "dramatic" situation, according to Ljubovila official Milan Kovacevic.

Emergency measures have been enforced in a number of municipalities in Serbia as days of heavy downpour have caused widespread damage. Floodwaters also burst into homes and cut off roads, said authorities.

Prime Minister Ana Brnabic assured that authorities had moved promptly to limit the damage. "All necessary machinery is deployed in the field. Machines are clearing debris from waterways to prevent flash flooding."

The Interior Ministry said in a statement that members of the department for emergency situations are "providing assistance to the population and evacuating."

Overflowing rivers inundated about 700 houses in the western and central regions, according to Radio Television of Serbia.

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In Ljubovija, as well as other areas in central Serbia, hundreds of families were forced to evacuate their homes. Serbian army personnel was deployed to help set up flood defenses in affected areas.

In Arilje, local officials said some evacuees were moved to a sports hall, were power and water supplies had to be turned off.

It was a "dramatic" situation, said Kovacevic, following the burst of the Ljubovija river. Numerous residents have been left without water or electricity.

"Everyone was doing their best to beef up the banks, but it wasn't enough," he told RTS. Three bridges were also destroyed in the town.

Traffic has been disrupted as rivers become swollen, raising fears of probable landslides.

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In the neighboring country of Bosnia and Herzegovina, a landslide in Tuzla Canton blocked a major road that connects the central town of Tuzla with capital Sarajevo. 

Roads were also damaged in the country's western region, as well as bridges and several houses. A number of residential buildings were hit by flooding as well, while several road infrastructures were damaged.

Drier conditions are forecast over Serbia and Bosnia on Thursday, June 25.

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Featured image credit: @biljanaZ1/Twitter

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