Authorities declared a state of emergency in three Balkan nations on Thursday — Bosnia, Serbia, Montenegro — after heavy rain caused some of the worst flooding in over 100 years.
Hundreds of people had to be evacuated along the Drina River, which runs along the three nations’ borders.
In the Bosnian town of Foca, floods roared up to the second floor of buildings. Tour companies handed over their rafts so rescue workers could pluck people from residential buildings. Those insisting on staying on upper floors were given food and water. Schools were closed, half of the town had no electricity, and the water supply was contaminated by the floods.
In nearby town of Gorazde, officials said the Drina has not risen so high in 104 years.
“From my terrace, I no longer see a river, but a lake that has flooded parts of the town’s centre,” said Muris Razanica, whose hillside hotel has a stunning view of the Bosnian town of Gorazde.
“This area is famous for rafting but if this goes on, big ships will be able to dock in Gorazde, it’s really unbelievable,” he added as the army turned out to help evacuate people.
On the opposite bank, rescue workers in Serbia and Montenegro evacuated hundreds from their homes and the Drina flooded farms and roads. The entire area was hit by power outages and lacked drinking water.
In northern Montenegro, 600 people had to leave their homes, while in Serbia, police evacuated 140 people.
Meanwhile, the Neretva River hit its highest level in 50 years, flooding 700 houses in the southern Croatian town of Metkovic. Residents, firefighters and rescue workers placed sandbags on river banks to prevent more flooding, schools were closed, along with a road and a border crossing into Bosnia.
In the central Croatian region of Lika, several villages were accessible only by boats.
Authorities warned that more rivers — especially in southern Bosnia — are threatening to burst their banks.