Red Cross boat crews hit the water as flooding sweeps western Serbia

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By Nichola Jones, IFRC

Hundreds of people have been forced to leave their homes after severe flooding hit western Serbia.

Emergency teams from the Red Cross of Serbia have been working across the municipalities of Lučani, Čačak, Arilje and Pozega where schools have been shut, roads closed and dozens of homes evacuated. They are delivering food and emergency supplies to hundreds of families using boats to reach the worst-hit villages and towns.

Disaster management coordinator for the Red Cross of Serbia, Nebojsa Medojevic, said:

“Rivers and streams are bursting their banks and engulfing villages – hundreds of people have been forced to evacuate and we are preparing for the situation to get worse.

“Our teams are on the ground and have been giving out food parcels, mattresses, blankets, rubber boots and toiletries to people hit hardest so far.”

Flooding began at the weekend after days of heavy downpours. In Čačak, 420 people were evacuated by emergency services and thousands more people have seen their homes damaged by water. Despite a break in the rain on Wednesday, the forecast is bleak and people are preparing for the worst. The Red Cross of Serbia has provided supplies for more than 3,000 people so far and is preparing to scale up its response.

Food parcels, blankets, socks, toiletries and boots were also sent to 120 families in Kralijevo 30 in Trstenik today (Wednesday), while 100 households in Bajina Basta also received food, hygiene kits and supplies.

Medojevic said: “It is likely more areas will be affected in the next few days and we are making sure we have enough supplies to meet the needs.

“It’s a worrying time for everyone living in those areas and we are urging people to keep watching the news, checking for updates and preparing as much as they can.”

The Red Cross has also sent a 10-member rescue and recovery team from its national headquarters in Belgrade, well as two pumps to help clear the water from homes and buildings.

The government has declared the flooding an emergency in the affected municipalities and flood defences around Djetinja river have been bolstered.