Thousands of people have fled their homes in Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina as massive floods fueled by record rainfall have already killed at least 44 people, officials say, and as residents have been warned about land mines exposed by mudslides.
Approximately 10,000 people have been evacuated from the affected areas, while some towns have been completely cut off by the deluge that hit the region’s Sava River, Agence France-Presse reports.
“We sent rescue teams into a part of the city we had not been able to access so far. They are entering those areas fearing what they might discover,” said Samo Minic, the mayor of the Bosnian town of Samac.
One rescue worker who spent two days trying to reach the Serbian village of Krupanj described the floods as looking “like a tsunami and earthquake occurred at once.”
“We found some 50 people gathered in the highest house,” Nedeljko Brankovic said. “They had neither electricity nor drinking water. Telephones did not work. We evacuated them 10 by 10 in a huge boat.”
Twenty-seven deaths have been reported in Bosnia, 16 reported in Serbia and one reported in Croatia. Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic said he expected the death toll to rise.
In addition to the floods, the rainfall led to destructive landslides and warnings that residents should beware of exposed landmines first buried during fighting and warfare in the 1990s.