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Disasters

Two missing in fresh floods in Bosnia

A rescue operation has been launched to find two people missing in fresh floods in Bosnia. The authorities say one person has also been killed.

The police in Bosnia were searching for two people on Friday swept away by flash floods following a bout of heavy rainfall.

The authorities also confirmed a woman's body was recovered from the muddy banks of a river in northwestern Bosnia on Thursday.

It was the second time in four months that parts of the country were severely affected - in May, the Balkans region was hit by the worst floods in more than a century.

In the first flash floods, Bosnia suffered almost 2-billion-euros worth of damage to buildings, the infrastructure and industry when rivers burst their banks following torrential rain. Roads and bridges were swept away by torrents of water, which also triggered hundreds of landslides. More than 20 people died in Bosnia and more than 60 in Serbia.

There was a repeat, on a lesser scale, this week across the Balkans. In Serbia, a man drowned in his cellar on Tuesday.

Calls for more government action

People in the village of Zeljezno Polje in central Bosnia, who lost their homes in May, were cut off by heavy floods once again this week.

Villagers gathered in the nearby town of Zepce and called on the local authorities to give them land to build new houses.

They also demanded that the river bed was cleaned, roads repaired, and power supplies reconnected before winter.

"I have lived in a tent in the woods since May," villager Besim Tutnjic told the Reuters news agency. "The tent is now gone; we have received no help from the authorities and we don't know what to do or where to go."

Tutnjic and 16 members of his extended family were among hundreds of angry villagers who blocked the main road linking the towns of Zenica and Zepce on Thursday.

Divisions cause delays to regeneration

A lack of coordination between Bosnia's two autonomous regions, created after the Balkans war from 1992-1996, means none of the money allocated to Bosnia has been put to use. Donors say they will fund projects, which have still to be agreed on by rival entities.

The government of the mainly Bosniak and Croat Federation, which together with the Serb Republic makes up Bosnia, declared a state of emergency on Thursday and allocated urgent funding to the worst hit areas.

lw/shs (AP, Reuters)

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