Flooding and landslides caused major damages to three PPRD South Balkan Partner Countries – Albania, Montenegro and Bosnia - during the first week of December.
More than 11,000 people were evacuated from their homes in northwestern Albania due to floods that hit the country after 10 days of uninterrupted rainfall. About 7,500 houses were damaged and 2,600 others completely flooded. The state of emergency was declared in the city of Shkodra, which remained isolated from the rest of the country. In several parts of the town the water level reached more than two meters and the electricity was cut off. At least 1,400 police and soldiers were deployed in the northern Albanian regions to help with the evacuation of residents and to secure food for them.
Albanian authorities on 4 December called for NATO help to be able to cope with the situation. Turkey sent three helicopters with a medical team and humanitarian aid to Albania while two other helicopters arrived on 5 December from Greece.
In neighboring Montenegro, more than 1,300 people from 12 municipalities were evacuated due to floods caused by heavy rainfall. The most severely hit areas are the region of Lake Skadar, on the border with Albania and the area around the capital Podgorica.
In response, the Montenegrin Government set up an Operative Team with relevant Ministries and local governments to determine priorities and tasks in delivery assistance to the population in flooded areas, especially accommodation and medical support. Monitoring and rescue teams were positioned throughout the country and remained on alert until the situation was brought under control. Concerning the monitoring of the Skadar Lake, the Montenegrin Government worked closely with the authorities of the Republic of Albania.
In Bosnia, heavy rainfall caused floods in several areas of the country forcing authorities to declare a state of emergency and evacuate thousands of people from their homes. In the eastern town of Foca, rescuers used boats to evacuate people as water reached the first floors. In the northern Bosnian town of Tuzla a landslide unleashed by heavy rain killed three people and left several families homeless. The army, police, volunteers and divers helped evacuate about 2,000 people from their homes in the northeastern town of Bijeljina as well as deliver food and drinking water to flooded suburbs.
The overflowing Drina river, which separates Bosnia from Serbia and Montenegro, is constantly monitored by authorities of all three countries.
Note: On this important subject - “floods” - PPRD South is organizing one of its forthcoming workshops during which the importance of setting up proper early warning systems, particularly on weather forecasting, will be discussed.
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