- Posted May 17, 2014 by
This iReport is part of an assignment:
SERBIA IS FACING THE BIGGEST NATURAL DISASTER IN PAST 120 YEARS
Serbia is going through the worst floods ever recorded. The situation is much harder than can be imagined! Thousands of people are being evacuated, many of them are still waiting to be rescued.
Police and army in helicopters are trying to prevent further damage in the town of Obrenovac, south of Belgrade, after the Kolubara river burst its banks and flooded 90 per cent of the town.
According to one rescuer in Obrenovac, bodies are floating in the water and the rescuers have trouble evacuating all the people who are still trapped in the city.
“The situation in Obrenovac remained very critical and rescuers had started uncovering dead bodies. I will not reveal the number until the water goes down,” Predrag Maric, head of police emergency sector said on Saturday. Floods are threatening to leave one third of Serbia without electricity. Forecasters expect the Sava River to rise in the coming days due to the rainfall upstream in Bosnia and Croatia.
The extraordinary situation has been introduced in the whole country due to heavy flooding. A resident of the Town of Lajkovac and a fireman from Topola taken by a torrent during rescue operation, are treated as missing. Two people lost their lives one from Umcari near Obrenovac and one in the Danube at Novi Sad.
- The situation is really difficult. Until so far 1,500 people have been evacuated – Predrag Maric, Chief-of-Staff of the Sector for Extraordinary Situation of the Serbian Home Ministry says for the Blic.
The situation is extremely difficult in Valjevo, Preljine, Koceljeva, Ub, Osecina, Loznica, Obrenovac, Lazarevac, Grocka, Sabac and Jagodina.
- We are supplying water, food and blankets to people – Maric said.
Squall weather that hit Belgrade and the surrounding claimed one life while 65 people have been evacuated from their flooded homes.
The citizens of Grocka, Lazarevac, Obrenovac and Baric are the most threatened ones.
The man from Umcari, T.S (61) lost his life because he initially refused to be evacuated. Later he tried to reach the rescue teams and got drowned.
At a nursing home for old people also at Umcari, 30 people were captured by heavy flooding. Even 27 of them are immobile patients. It took hours for rescue teams to reach them. A rescue team is now in the building and shall stay there on duty in case that water starts penetrate into the building.
Darko Glavas of the Crisis Staff says that the teams are primarily engaged on protection of human lives. Saving of cattle is secondary while saving of material things comes last.
News taken from Blic online.
Ivica Dačić has said that Serbia now above all needs assistance in equipment, along with rescue teams to save the affected towns and their residents.
He pointed out that another kind of assistance would follow - through the rebuilding and donations. Now, aluminum motor boats, helicopters, blankets and rescue teams are most urgently needed, Dačić added.
"We must save towns and people, and then follows the reconstruction of the country and donations. We'll need the help of the EU and the UN," the Serbian foreign minister and first deputy prime minister told the public broadcaster RTS on Saturday.
"At this point it is important to save as many people as possible and that the help which is now arriving in related to rescue (operations)," he said, adding that the minister in charge of EU integration, Jadranka Joksimović, "will talk about what will come once the crisis situation is over," and that the EU "will certainly provide help."
"We as a government addressed all countries in a timely manner and launched also a mechanism with the EU, as a system for emergency situations. They will assess the damage, which is important for a fund and damage," he said.
According to Dačić, the EU immediately sent a directive to member states to immediately respond in terms of direct assistance in equipment and manpower.
He then pointed out that many countries, including Montenegro, Israel, Macedonia, Croatia and others, contacted the Serbian authorities immediately to help in various ways, and that the Ministry of Interior had set up a body to coordinate activities related to the collection of aid.
Dačić stressed that many rescue teams from other countries arrived here to help and that Serbians should express their deep gratitude.
"We sent a note to all international missions in Serbia, thanked and conveyed a request for delivery of equipment," Dačić said, adding that an account had been set up by the government for donations to the flood victims.
He said that Serbia also turned to the United Nations for assistance in manpower.
Serbia is grateful to all, both states and individuals, who have answered the call to help the endangered citizens, "and in particular to the Russian Federation," he noted.
Dačić also commented on the situation in the region, primarily in the Serb Republic (RS) in Bosnia, and noted that there it also became evident that one country cannot cope with such disasters alone.
Now that the precipitation has ceased in the crisis areas, there is a danger of water waves arriving to Serbia from the RS, Dačić warned, but said he "hoped this darkest scenario would not come to pass."
Japan sends aid
The Japanese government decided on Saturday to send assistance to flood-hit Serbia to the total value of JPY 10 million (around USD 100,000), the Japanese embassy in Serbia released.
Because of the severe damages caused by catastrophic floods in Serbia, the Japanese government will deliver assistance, comprising tents, sleeping pads and other equipment, which will be used immediately, states the release.
The decision of the Japanese government was adopted for humanitarian considerations for the endangered population and the friendly ties between Serbia and Japan.
The people of Japan will not forget the assistance and support by the people of Serbia in the difficult times after the powerful quake and tsunami which hit eastern Japan in 2011, the embassy said.
News taken from B92 online.