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Serbs brace for more rising water

Despite receding waters in parts of Bosnia, the end of record flooding in the Balkans is not yet in sight. The number of lives lost is expected to rise, and new areas are bracing for high water.

On Sunday, as the flooding Sava River receded in certain areas of Bosnia, residents in Serbia were bracing for more bad news to come in the worst floods the Balkans have seen since records began being kept.

So far, 20,000 Serbs have been evacuated from their homes, but the water is expected to rise further in parts of the country, including the capital, Belgrade. About 10,000 people were evacuated from their homes in Bosnia, and many are still unable to return.

Flood defenses were holding on Sunday in towns upstream from Belgrade, but this was partially due to the fact that the river had broken through defenses in areas in Croatia and Bosnia. That eased some of the pressure on Serbia, but left those parts of Croatia and Bosnia under water. Power stations along the Sava in Serbia are still threatened, however, and the country has already seen its power generation capacities significantly reduced due to the flood. Around 100,000 people in Serbia and Bosnia are without power.

As water levels drop in Bosnia, where the highest number of deaths has so far been reported, authorities warned that the number of dead was likely to rise as rescuers continued to recover bodies. Currently, 30 people have been killed in Bosnia, with three additional victims in Serbia. Serbian authorities said they would hold off on announcing an updated number of people killed by the floods until the end of the recovery operation.

Meanwhile, aid from Russia and Europe has begun to arrive in the Balkans, including a team from the Germany governement's volunteer response sevice, the Technische Hilfswerk (THW). A 15-member team from the THK has traveled to Belgrade with equipment that can pump up to 25,000 liters of water per minute. Bosnia has requested aid in the form of similar equipment, which is being coordinated by THW.

mz/msh (AFP, dpa)

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