Hello to our friends in the region and around the world. We hope wherever you are, you’re safe. Please send any info, photos, or updates to editor@balkanist.net, and check back here for more info about the worst floods to have hit Bosnia and Serbia in recorded history.

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2:50 AM: What might make some areas more vulnerable to flooding than others?

On Friday, a fire erupted in the Kolubara thermal power plant, which is part of the Nikola Tesla thermal power complex in Obrenovac (Photo credit: Novosti)

We know from various media reports that “three months’ worth of rain fell on the region in three days”, and that this is what caused the massive flooding we’ve seen in Bosnia, Serbia, and Croatia. But some areas have been far more affected than others. The flooding of the Kolubara river made the municipality of Obrenovac the most devastated area in Serbia: so far, 12 casualties have been reported, and that number is expected to rise.

But scientists have long warned that the Kolubara basin, which is located in the municipality of Obrenovac, has grown increasingly vulnerable to “frequent and large scale floods” due to human activities. In the 2012 article “Land Use Changes and Environmental Problems Caused by Bank Erosion: A Case Study of the Kolubara River Basin in Serbia“, scientists Slavoljub Dragicevic, Nenad Zivkovic, Mirjana Roksandic, Stanimir Kostadinov, Ivan Novkovic, Radislav Tosic, Milomir Stepic, Marija Dragicevic and Borislava Blagojevic made several serious observations about Obrenovac’s vulnerability to the kind of heavy flooding we’ve seen in recent days [emphasis ours]:

“Geomorphological analysis of the dominant erosion processes and their intensity quantification were done in the previous researches of the Kolubara River basin [1-3]. The results showed that,the level of the landscape degradation and modification of geomorphologic processes by human activities has been increased in the past decades [4], and it was initiated by very fast demographic, socio-economic and technological changes in Serbia, likewise in the region…”

Evacuating Obrenovac (Photo credit: AFP)

According to level and type of degradation, the Kolubara River basin belongs to the most endangered area in SerbiaDue to the lignite exploitation in the Kolubara River basin, human impact led to morphological change of the entire area, as well as to the changes of the intensity of different geomorphologic processes…”
The article also has an entire section dedicated to flooding in the area around Obrenovac:
“The Kolubara River is a good example which represents the existence of all conditions for frequent and large scale floods. As an indirect consequence of the anthropogenic influence on the hydrological system in the lower part of the Kolubara valley, once a year (sometimes twice a year) the Kolubara River overflows, and the area of lower part of the Kolubara River [editor’s note: where Obrenovac is located] basin is endangered by floods.”

Obrenovac municipality (Photo credit: Serbian Ministry of Defense)

“During the first decade of XXI century almost every two years the flood wave was bigger than the biggest one which occurs once in a fifty years. Huge flood waves were occurred in 2001, 2004, 2006, 2008 and 2010. The last flood in December 2010 had already reached the maximum value which occurs once in a hundred years.”
The article also says that “floods are directly and indirectly linked to bank erosion”, which is linked to human activities, especially the diversions and removals of the river bed in preparation for Kolubara’s infamous (and famously corrupt) coal mining basin. As a result, several things occurred: “the process of fluvial erosion was changed; bank erosion became stronger and resulted in soil loss, larger amounts of sediment load deposition, cutting off the meanders and fossilization of certain parts of the riverbed, floods, land use changes, landscape degradation…”


The scientists concluded in 2012: “No one feels responsible that the population in this area is still left to the mercy of torrential river. Numerous calls for helping endangered people and goods were sent to the different addresses, but no one tried to help. Apparently, the problem goes beyond the ‘values’ of a few villages and the state interest (lignite exploitation) has absolute priority, like in the case of … the unique sources of Obrenovac Municipality.”

9:15 PM: The AP is reporting that floods triggered more than 3,000 landslides across Bosnia and Serbia today. Six villages were evacuated in the Brcko District, and Mayor Anto Domic told reporters that ”unless the Bosnian Army is able to reinforce from the air”, the city of about 90,000 people “will be flooded completely”. The United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR) had an accurate threat profile for Brcko last year: Hazard and Vulnerability Profile: Flood, Fire, Land Slide, Cold Wave Disaster Risk Reduction Activities: Sanitation of landslides, Maintenance of riverbeds, Protection and rescue Local government even signed a letter agreeing to participate in UNISDR’s program “Making Cities Resilient: My City is Getting Ready”.

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8:15 PM: The Serbian government says that the Sava river is now at the greatest danger of flooding, and that a new wave is expected to hit the river, which runs through the capital of Belgrade, on Wednesday, May 21. Photo: The Sava river in the Savamala neighborhood of Belgrade taken at around 2 AM this morning by Balkanist.


3:50 PM: If you’re looking for missing friends or relatives in Serbia, a website,nestale.poplave.rs, has been set up to post and share information. 3:15 PM: The floods spread. Gunja, Croatia, a town on the left bank of the Sava river, is now completely underwater. Information from the Croatian Red Cross. Photo from Twitter: @15422R

Bn657C0IQAAzSVB3:10 PM: The German Foreign Office says that technical teams and experts have arrived in the region to provide assistance. More are being coordinated and are on their way.

3:00 PM: We’re back after a late morning, a day spent running around, and very little sleep. A reader from the Dutch organization Stichting Dierenopvang Bosnie, which helps stray dogs in Bosnia, asked us to provide information to our readers who may be interested in donating to rescue animals stranded or otherwise affected by the floods. They have been around for several years, and if you want you can contact them at info@hondenopvang.com. “We are supporting many volunteers who are trying to rescue as much as possible. If people want to donate, here’s how they can: NL59 INGB 00094 746 94 BIC : INGBNL2A Stichting Dierenopvang Bosnie If possible people can mention Floods, so we know it is meant to support the situation they are currently in! We need to help as much as possible”

Photo from Twitter: @hurricanezippy ”Guy from Serbia saves over 50 dogs”.BnnpZCBIAAEK-UM-1

4:45 AM: Serbian broadcaster RTS has published lists of evacuees. In many cases, these people need medicine, and the lists specify the type of medicine they need. Photo from Twitter: @severzolak


4:15 AM: It appears that the town of Janja in Bosnia has also been hit hard by the current flooding. The town is famous for “its river Drina and little river Janja”. Many displaced persons from elsewhere in Bosnia live there. Photo from Twitter: @DraganaMrkaja

Photo from Twitter: @sejlala ”Janja before & after”

Bn4SHZ4IMAAZt0b.jpg-large3:45 AM: Eyewitness and media reports indicate that Svilajnac, a town and municipality in central Serbia, is “destroyed”. Vojislav Nedeljkovic (@VojaNedeljkovic) tweeted: “there is very little food or water; there are many elderly and sick, babies and hungry children who have nowhere to go.” Svilajnac is situated on the banks of the river Resava, and borders the river Morava. Nedeljkovic also shared a photo:Bn4XApTCMAApq7w

12:10 AM: Another great and secure way to give is through Save the Children’s Balkan Relief Fund.


11:40 PM: The Serbian chapter of the Red Cross says if you want to know if a particular person is on their official list of evacuees, send their name as a direct message (DM) to the Red Cross Serbia Twitter account@crvenikrstinfo

11:30 PM: Tomorrow at 21:30, there will be free buses from Budva, Montenegro to Serbia for those who wish to volunteer in the relief effort. Contact number in country is: 068/469-810.

11:10 PM: For our readers who wish to donate money to flood victims, we are recommending the International Red Cross. The organization has offices in both countries, and they’re coordinating relief efforts and distributing aid. Here’s information for Serbia and Bosnia.

11:00 PM: Saving people, saving animals:10268411_668464753191000_8512761429669849075_nBnyiogxCAAA3ULQ10173801_668464906524318_8964566099312430428_n10304773_668464959857646_5597011067182805293_n10307232_668464546524354_2430490777579787520_n10313515_668464859857656_5285376948803703764_n10309685_668464823190993_6490945312053922771_n1509087_668464779857664_3545952309168342665_n10292511_668464579857684_1270466201353806896_n10395183_668464709857671_2490172354271651526_n10363818_668464636524345_6660556791237121680_n10394592_668464556524353_524884391519236270_n10325791_668464479857694_8933826443733769421_n10269653_668464439857698_1889247950960817242_n10390369_668464419857700_2107199143198137921_n10247220_668464346524374_8317998888944289446_n1558386_668463843191091_716853960958759428_n10334432_668464306524378_3287173007288432385_n10268657_668464183191057_3146401578231491788_n

10:oo PM: A reader sent us the following info about how to help in Bosnia.

There will be organized working actions tomorrow, and buses will take volunteers to affected areas. Below, there’s a list of places accepting donations for those displaced by the flooding:

Faculty of Philosophy – from 10:00 to 16:00 every day!!! – Center for the Promotion of Civil Society – Gradačačka bb , near Malaysian bridge (every day except Sunday, during the period 9-15 hours) -Rooms FK Sarajevo ( club room ) – Caritas BK BiH ul Mehmed Beg Kapetanovića Ljubusaka 6 , 10-18 and 24/7 contact 063690456 – Shatro caffe – Bushido Karate Club -Faculty of Islamic Studies – Veterinary Medicine – Pomozi.ba ( Aziz Šaćirbegović 48 , near the robot Hrasno and Azići 12 , Ilidza) Every Red Cross office in the country… call and donate: BH Telekom 090 291 032 – 2,00 KM Eronet 092 890 830 – 1,80 KM mtel 1458 – 1 KM What is urgently needed: – Medicines (paracetamol, antiseptics, anti-diarrhea tablets, disinfectants) – Blankets, clothes, rubber boots, shovels … – Canned food, baby food and bottled water – Flashlights, candles – Hygiene products (soaps, disinfectants, dry wash products…) – Can openers

Organized working actions via Studentski parlament UNSA (Sunday 9:00 in Kampus UNSA buses will go towards Maglaj, Doboj, Olovo, Zavidovići etc.) http://balkanist.net/live-updates-balkan-floods/

About LillyT

:))) Rođena između hipi pokreta i panka; odrasla u socijalizmu zastićena od vremena i prostora. Bila i ostala buntovnik i isterivač "djavola" ničim izazvana. Jos se nije umorila od svog životnog puta hodanja po žici, što joj je bilo i ostalo pretežno zanimanje u večnom opiranju pokusajima drustva da je oblikuje

2 responses »

  1. Johan Lindström kaže:

    Hello, just wanted to let everyone know that you can support the victims of the flooding by playing the lotto. Here at Multilotto, we are giving €1 for every line played. Learn more here: http://www.multilotto.com/en/lotterynews/408-support-serbia-and-bosnia

    Whether you play the lotto or do something else entirely, please do what you can to support the victims of flooding in these difficult times. Thank you!

    Sviđa mi se

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