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News 12 Sep 17

Croatian Coastal Towns Hit by Heavy Floods

Record rainfall on Monday left the region around the Croatian coastal town of Zadar under water, depriving local people of electricity, safe drinking water and transport.

Sven Milekic

Heavy rains that started early on Monday morning continued through the day, flooding the region oround the Croatian coastal town of Zadar, along with the nearby islands of Ugljan, Pasman and Dugi Otok.

Zadar was worst hit on Monday morning and afternoon, when by 2pm 340 litres of rain per square metre had already fallen – three times as much as the September average for the region.

By the end of the day, it was predicted that Croatia’s record of 350 litres per square metre in 24 hours had probably been broken.

Although some roads are still partially under water, and there is still no electricity in some neighbourhoods, the situation has normalised and schools opened their doors on Tuesday.

The situation looked worst in the medieval coastal town of Nin, near Zadar, where a large portion of the town under deep water.

There is no electricity in the town, and the authorities have warned its inhabitants that the water is not safe for drinking.

Flooded Nin filmed with drone.

The military meanwhile has sent an amphibious vehicle to help to transport people who might have been cut off by the rising waters.

The authorities on Monday evening evacuated workers from the Cromaris fish processing company and from Solana Nin, a salt-producing factory that has existed in the town from medieval times.

Nin mayor Emil Curko said on Tuesday that the town would need help from the state.

“We expect help from the government and the wider community because Nin can’t cope with this [alone],” Curko said, adding that the water was slowly ebbing away and that no locals were trapped in their homes.

“We’ll only see what the situation is when the water retreats. The damage is great, two old bridges from the 16th and 18th century have been destroyed,” he added.

Flood destroys a pedestrian bridge in Nin.

Hundreds of firefighters and soldiers are actively engaged in pumping out the water in the region.

Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic, accompanied by a few ministers, visited Zadar on Monday afternoon, touring the flooded areas and inspecting how the authorities are fighting the floods.

“All that can be done is being done, it is difficult to have a preparatory plan for such an amount of precipitation falling at once. The most important thing is that nobody has been harmed,” Plenkovic said.

“After the extraordinary circumstances we faced this summer, after heavy droughts and fires, we have now faced floods. I thank all the firefighters and volunteers who helped to repair the damage,” he added.

Croatian President Kolinda Grabar Kitarovic also visited Zadar on Monday afternoon to see the flood damage firsthand.

“Full respect to the firefighters, it seems that after the fires in the summer, they now have to deal with the other side of their job,” Grabar Kitarovic said.

“I can’t believe that in a matter of hours the rain caused so much material damage. We were also in Nin where the situation looks like after a hurricane,” she added.

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