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Society

Snow and Heavy Rain in Balkans Cause Floods, Disrupt Traffic

January 11, 2021

BELGRADE, Serbia — A spate of rain and snow across the Balkans in the past days has left homes and fields flooded, disrupted road and sea traffic and caused power outages. 

In Serbia, authorities on Monday prepared to clear tons of garbage clogging a lake in the southwest of the country after it was swept off from landfills by overflowing rivers. 

Emergency measures have been announced in the southern Doljevac municipality, where rescue teams helped more than two dozen people evacuate their homes.

The state RTS television reported that numerous fields and barns are flooded and villages left without drinking water from days of rain and snow around the southern town of Leskovac and other towns and villages in the area. 

In central and eastern regions of Serbia, thousands of people were left without electricity as snow collapsed distribution lines. Authorities urged drivers to be cautious and not to take to roads unless absolutely necessary because of snow. 

Traffic disruption and speed limits due to snow were reported in Croatia, where a bus overturned early on Monday on the main east-west highway, injuring eight people. 

Floods were reported in Albania and Kosovo, where days of heavy rain were mixed with snowy weather. 

Thousands of acres of land are flooded in western Albania and bridges and roads have been damaged, leaving villages isolated and forcing emergency deliveries of water to hundreds of people. 

Power outages were also reported, which meant that some schools could not reopen Monday as authorities struggled to handle water levels in the main hydropower system on the Drini river. 

The army, police and local teams stepped in to assist isolated residents in the areas of Shkoder, Lezha and Durres where major flooding in 2010 caused devastation. 

In Kosovo, officials were consulting with the commanders of the NATO-led peacekeepers over how to help flood-hit areas in the west where people have been forced to evacuate homes.

A house in the village of Fushe belonging to 60-year-old Muj Zabeli was flooded and seriously damaged. But Zabeli says he is getting little help.

"No one is interested," he complained. "You may suffer a loss here and no one would care."

Slippery roads and strong wind have prompted authorities to ban trucks with trailers and double-decker buses on some roads as many Adriatic Sea connections were halted. 

Heavy rain further south in Montenegro damaged a fortress wall in the southern town of Ulcinj, which is near the border with Albania.

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