Flash flooding leaves more than 20 dead

Cheryl Sanders
August 11, 2016

This is after at least 20 people have died in floods that hit the Macedonian capital following torrential rain.

The worst hit areas were villages outside of the capital including Aracinovo, Singelic, Smilkovci and Stajkovci.

Torrential rain flooded homes, swept away a section of the ring road around Skopje and destroyed cars late on Saturday night.

"This is a disaster, we have never experienced such a thing", the AFP news agency quoted Skopje Mayor Koce Trajanovski as saying.

After a meeting of the National Crisis Management Centre, Health Minister Nikola Todorov said the death toll could soon rise.

In the spring of 2014, the Balkans region was hit by its worst floods in more than a century, which affected 1.6 million people and left 47 people dead in Serbia and Bosnia.

According to local media, several people reported missing.

The rain had stopped on Sunday morning but more rain was forecast for the evening.

A man walks through a flooded street in the village of Stajkovci, near Skopje, on August 7, 2016, following overnight torrential rains and fierce storms.

More than 40 volunteers and staff from the Red Cross helped to evacuate hundreds of people from Gazi Baba municipality, the country's capital Skopje and villages around Tetovo city. Authorities said more than 1,000 people had been evacuated so far. Care also should be taken with the consumption of food, such as vegetables from gardens that may be contaminated by floodwater, authorities said. They urged people to stay at home and to only drink bottled water.

Further north in Croatia, stormy winds have disrupted road and sea traffic at the height of the tourist season. A highway linking the capital city Zagreb to the southern coast was closed.

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