Death toll reaches 20, new evacuations ordered
Local authorities in the town of Šabac, in western Serbia, on Monday announced that two more people had lost their lives in the floods.Source: B92, Beta, Tanjug
The victims were found in Mrđenovac and Krupanj, and according to the Šabac administration, "most likely perished because they did not adhere to the evacuation order."
Later in the day authorities said the death toll in the town of Obrenovac now stood at 13.
On Sunday, 12 deaths were confirmed in Obrenovac and 17 overall in the worst flooding that hit Serbia in over a century.
According to Interior Minister Nebojša Stefanović, six of the victims in Obrenovac drowned, while seven died of natural causes.
Because of a flood wave and an expected rise in the water level of the nearby Sava River, urgent and complete evacuation of Obrenovac was ordered on Monday afternoon. Hours later, it was announced that the river burst a sandbag barrier in three locations, but that evacuations were proceeding as planned and that there was "no need to panic."
The town was last week devastated by the flooding Kolubara River, whose waters had in the meantime started to recede.
Also on Monday afternoon, evacuation was ongoing of some 8,500 people from the villages near the town of Šabac along the Sava.
Serbian Army chief General Ljubiša Diković, who coordinates the emergency HQ in Šabac, ordered the evacuation on Monday morning.
"The water level around Šabac is receding, but that does not mean the danger is over. The embankments are full of water and there is a real danger that they will break. We had a very difficult situation last night near Červentija, repaired successfully for the time being by 500 soldiers who prevented the water from flooding and creating a catastrophe from the mouth of the Drina River down toward Šabac," Diković said.
A decision was also made not to allow citizens to participate in building the defenses after 20:00 CET, but to leave this work to the troops and the police. At the same time, private vehicles have been banned from the zone.
"The citizens have been informed that if they hear the evacuation signal, they should start moving left and right away from the embankments, and leave material goods behind," said Diković.
While the danger of the Sava River bursting its banks remains real, said the crisis HQ, this has not happened yet and there is "no reason to panic."
Landslide "moves mountain"
General Ljubiša Diković ordered the evacuation near Šabac for preventative reasons, Chief of the MUP Emergency Situations Sector Predrag Marić said on Monday.
The critical situation is also in the small town of Mali Zvornik, western Serbia, where a major landslide occurred as "an entire mountain started moving toward the Drina River", Marić said to the Belgrade-based broadcaster Pink.
Because of this, a danger arose that a natural dam could be created and divert the Drina toward Mali Zvornik, but fortunately the entire process slowed down, Marić stressed.
He said that a new flood surge is expected to arrive on Wednesday from Croatia, adding that there are plans for flood defenses.
"The biggest job lies ahead of us - to ensure that life gets back to normal once the immediate danger is behind us," Maric said.
He voiced hope that the enthusiasm of young people and other volunteers would not dampen in the next several months, noting that every man is vital in efforts to restore Serbia to the situation before the flooding.