Torrential rains in the Balkans over the past two days have triggered flooding that has killed at least six people, sparked widespread evacuations and caused significant damage, authorities said Monday.
One of the worst affected areas was in northwestern Albania, where thousands of acres of agricultural land and hundreds of houses were inundated. Authorities evacuated dozens of families amid power outages.
Early Monday morning, police divers found the bodies of two missing men, a father and son whose car was swept away Sunday in the town of Boge, some 90 miles north of the capital Tirana.
Swollen rivers in Montenegro and parts of Serbia claimed four lives over the weekend. A woman and her two children drowned in Montenegro when her car plunged into a river while driving over a bridge. In southern Serbia, a 2-year-old boy drowned after falling into a river.
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The authorities in the Raska region of southern Serbia proclaimed a state of emergency due to heavy flooding and the army was deployed to help the local population with evacuations and the supply of drinking water and food.
Torrential rains of up to 14 inches in 12 hours caused the Drini river, Albania’s longest, to overflow its banks by at least 4 inches on Sunday, according to authorities.
At least 7,500 acres of farmland were inundated in Shkoder and Lezhe districts, about 60 miles northwest of Tirana.
Hundreds of army soldiers were sent to evacuate families after more than 600 houses were flooded.
“Shkoder is currently cut off from the rest of the country,” Mayor Bardh Spahia said.
Farmers, who repeatedly suffered from flooding in the post-communist era, expressed despair over their losses, which included livestock, and appealed to the government for help.
“We need the government’s help because the damage from the floods is very, very serious,” said Lina Zefi, 60, in the village of Kuc, less than 6 miles from Shkoder.
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The historic 18th-century Lead Mosque in Shkoder was also left under water, after sustaining damage from past floods.
The floods also affected areas in western Kosovo, causing some damage to buildings and the closure of schools, but no casualties were reported.