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Serbia evacuates 16,300 people from flood-stricken regions

May 18, 6:28 UTC+4 BELGRADE
About 78,000 houses in 13 municipal districts remain without electricity
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BELGRADE, May 18, /ITAR-TASS/. Serbia has evacuated 16,300 people from the flood-stricken areas in Obrenovac, Baric, Sremska Mitrovica, from the outskirts of Pozarevac, etc. People are being accommodated in schools, dormitories and institutes. Policemen, firefighters and a huge number of volunteers are involved in the rescue operations, the Serbian Interior Ministry reports.

About 78,000 houses in 13 municipal districts remain without electricity; 2,060 facilities have been under-flooded and another 1,763 are under threat of inundation. The relief aid collected by the Serbian Interior Ministry has been distributed flooded and flood threatened areas.

Most theatres and concert halls have cancelled performances and concerts until the end of the week at least in solidarity with the flood victims. Serbian museums have refused to participate in the “Night of Museums” action.

Instead, museums and theatres in Belgrade have started raising funds for the flood victims. People are bringing bottles with drinking water, canned food, blankets, personal hygiene products, shoes and clothes.

Meanwhile, the neighboring Bosnia and Herzegovina, which is also hit by floods, officially confirmed the death of 16 people on May 17, Gojko Vasic, the head of police department in the Serbian Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina, told a news conference in Banja Luka on Saturday.

He expected more bodies to be found when the waters started to decrease.

So far, the death toll - nine people - has been highest in Doboj, a city in northern Bosnia and Herzegovina. It was isolated from the rest of the world for three days. It is still without electricity and some of its neighborhoods can be reached only by boat. More than 6,000 people have been evacuated in Bosnia and Herzegovina by now.

Bosnia and Herzegovina’s demining center has warned that floods and mudslides could displace minefields and bring mines and shells hidden on riverbeds to the surface.

“We are closely watching the situation and asking people not to panic if they see a shell appear from the ground,” Sasa Obradovic, the center’s spokesperson, said, advising people to immediately turn to mine disposal experts for help.

More than 500,000 people out of Bosnia and Herzegovina’s population of almost 4 million people live in areas filled with mines left over from the 1992-1995 Bosnian war and run daily risks of blowing themselves up on these unexploded mines.

According to the Bosnian demining center, about 220,000 mines are still lying beneath on the country’s territory.

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