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news 25 May 14

No More Critical Points for Floods in Serbia

As the situation in the flood-stricken Serbia is calming down with no more critical spots, epidemiologists warn of potential risks for people in the flooded areas.

BIRN, RTS, Blic, Tanjug

Predrag Maric, head of police emergency sector, said on Sunday that the situation in all critical areas is stable and there is no risk of new flooding.

“There are no new critical point in terms of what we had over the past 12 days," Maric told Beta news agency.

The government did its job

Serbian President Tomislav Nikolic said Saturday that the floods should serve as a sharp reminder to the Serbian people but also as an example of “how the country and its people can get united in a situation.”

“A huge lesson, a huge experience ... A reminder for the future of the risks this can happen. Not so much a reminder to the government ... the government has done its job in the best possible way, especially the people who were here on the ground,” Nikolic told public Serbian broadcaster, RTS, on Saturday.

The floods were a “huge warning to citizens,” Nikolic said, adding that people have been called through all public media to evacuate and leave the areas threatened by floods.

“We all begged them, urging them through all media to evacuate and do what they were asked to. Today they probably realize that if only there had been a little more cooperation, we would be here now with no human victims,” he said.

Following Nikolic's appearance on the RTS, people on social media started making fun out of his words and accusing him for putting the blame on people instead on the state.

So far, 33 people have reportedly lost their lives, while over 31,000 have been evacuated. The authorities say it is the worst rainfall to hit Serbia in well over a century.

Although the state lifted on Friday a state of emergency it introduced on May 15, it is still in force in the towns of: Sabac, Sremska Mitrovica, Krupanj, Mali Zvornik, Koceljeva, Vladimirci, Obrenovac, Ljig, Ub, Lajkovac, Osecina, Mionica, Paracin, Svilajnac, Smederevska Palanka, Kosjeric, Bajina Basta and Sid.

Goran Puzovic, head of Srbijavode (Serbian waters state-owned company), said that water levels in these areas was declining while spilled rivers were receding.

Belgrade is still on alert of flooding but authorities keep repeating that the city is ready and safe.

In the Belgrade municipality of Obrenovac, which was hardest hit in the floods, people are still not allowed to return to their homes.

Meanwhile, the first cases of diarrhea and temperature caused by poor hygiene due to lack of water have been registered in the flooded areas.

In some collective centers, cases of scabies and pediculosis have been registered. Epidemiologists say however, that the country has yet to face with various diseases that may appear after floods.

The river Sava in Belgrade. Photo by Beta/AP Darko Vojinovic

“We do not expect large epidemic of inflammatory bowel disease since people have already been warned that they must not drink water or use food in the flooded areas,” Branislav Tiodorovic, epidemiologist, said.

On the other hand, increased number of mosqitoes means larger risk of the West Nile virus, he added.

“There is a threat of dengue. It has been proved in Croatia that mosqitoes are carrying this virus. Malaria is also possible. That is why it is necessary that when water withdraws thorough spraying is carried out,” Tiodorovic said.

Insects and rodents appear after every flooding. Moisture and high temperature help them multiply very rapidly.

“Rats can cause leptospirosis, a very serious disease. People who return to flooded areas should not go barefooted through water since bacteria from rat urine are in it,” Tiodorovic noted.

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In Pictures


Devastating Floods

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