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08 Dec 10

Macedonia Flood Victims Complain of Inaction

Locals in flood-affected areas say authorities are not doing enough to protect them from an almost annual occurrence.

Sinisa Jakov Marusic
Skopje

Parts of Macedonia experienced serious flooding on Monday and Tuesday, after rivers spilled over following heavy rainfall.

The most critical situation was along Macedonia’s biggest river, the Vardar. Its riverbanks overflowed near the northwestern town of Tetovo, drowning livestock and flooding households and agricultural land.

Parts of the central town of Veles and its surroundings near the Vardar also disappeared under water, causing heavy damage and reportedly drowning livestock.

Macedonia’s Crisis Management Centre spokesman, Misko Taleski, told Balkan Insight that the water was slowly receding from all the flooded areas. But he warned that the crisis is not over and more floods are possible in the south, near the Greek border.

“Due to high water levels it is possible that in coming days we will see flooding from the Vardar in the [southern] area of Demir Kapija, near the Greek border”, Taleski warned.

After clear weather on Tuesday and Wednesday, heavy rain and snow are expected on Thursday evening. The unstable weather is expected to last throughout the next weekend. "I don’t know how we are going to defend ourselves if it starts to pour again," Radmila Stojanovska, from Veles, told Balkan Insight.

Her house is located near the Vardar.

"The government sends in the army each time there is a flood but they cannot help us. We need barriers on the riverbanks," she says.

"Our houses are going to crumble away from all the damp that accumulates from the flooding each year," Cirko Masevski, a villager from Raotince, near Tetovo, told the media.

His village has been flooded several times in recent years and the local authorities there are demanding state aid in order to bolster the Vardar riverbanks.

"We have had visits from countless ministers who promised to help us. But the situation is still the same," he said.

Meanwhile, the situation remains critical in other parts of the country, near the rivers Treska, Bregalnica, Kriva Reka and Babuna, which also overflowed in areas.

The waters of the Kriva Reka tore down a bridge near the northeastern village of Beljakovce.

A bridge near the southeastern village of Monospitovo also collapsed from the waters of the local water channel. Monospitovo’s residents blamed the disaster on failure to dredge debris and rubble from the channel.

A landslide on Monday blocked a local road near the southeastern town of Kriva Palanka.

The Crisis Management Centre says the cost of damages from the floods is expected to be high. They said they were still assessing the damage.

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