A truck runs on a water-logged street in Banja Luka, capital of Republika Srpska, an entity of Bosnia and Herzegovina, (Xinhua/Borislav Zdrinja)
SARAJEVO, (Xinhua): At least 19 people were killed by floods in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), with hundreds of buildings damaged and over 10,000 people evacuated, officials said on Saturday.
Heavy rain triggered the flooding, the worst in 120 years in the Balkan state.
A total of 16 people, mostly old people, were confirmed dead in the worst-hit Republika Srpska (RS), an entity of BiH, Gojko Vasic, a local police head was quoted by media as saying.
Elsewhere in BiH, two women and an old man were killed during landslides, according to media reports. A couple of villages remained cut off from the outside.
The death toll might climb as rescue efforts continue.
The Armed Forces of BiH sent trucks and helicopters to evacuate trapped citizens, and delivered drinking water, food, clothing and medicine to the flooding-hit areas.
The European Union Force (EUFOR), at the request of BiH government, sent four helicopters and military vehicles to transfer several hundred people to safe ground.
The European Union (EU) and neighboring countries rushed to help. The EU sent in five boats and 23 rescuers to BiH, while Slovenia dispatched one police helicopter and four boats. Austria pledged to send eight boats with crew.
The United States, Croatia and Macedonia also provided help in relief efforts. A British special response team with rescue equipment arrived in Sarajevo Saturday night.
Though water levels in most flooded areas are receding, the danger of more landslides increases, expert warned, saying that evacuation must speed up to avoid more casualties.
BiH Foreign Minister Zlatko Lagumdzija said damage caused by the floods in the country would amount to millions of U.S. dollars, “like that would be caused by a war.”