57 people died during May floods in Serbia

During the devastating floods that hit Serbia in May, 57 people died, of which 23 drowned, Interior Ministry Secretary of State Aleksandar Nikolić has said.

Source: B92, Beta, Tanjug

Nikolić was addressing a meeting of the Parliamentary Committee on Defense and Internal Affairs on Tuesday, where a government report on the floods and rescue measures was presented and debated.

The MUP official added that a total of 31,879 citizens had to be evacuated from their homes during the disaster.

He revealed that some 25,000 people were evacuated from the town of Obrenovac alone.

"2,260 buildings were flooded and 1,763 endangered. That figure includes structures in Obrenovac, Paraćin, and Svilajnac," Nikolić explained.

He added that an average of 7,300 MUP officers were deployed daily in the flooded areas, and that this number peaked at 9,592 on May 18.

State Secretary at the Ministry of Defense Zoran Đorđević addressed the same committee meeting to say that the army evacuated 10,299 people.

MUP Sector for Emergency Situations chief Predrag Marić told the committee that "no city was sacrificed" during the May floods, and noted that the disaster "brought to the surface both the capabilities and the mistakes of all relevant services."

Noting that the state meteorological service, RHMZ, on May 12 issued a warning about upcoming heavy rains, and that the alert reached local emergency HQs, "this announcement did not anticipate precipitation of more than 200 liters of water per square meter."

"That's why today we must talk about everything that was done well, but also about the mistakes, because no one can say that such a situation cannot happen again," said Marić.

Prime Minister Aleksandar Vučić in late May announced that a total of 51 people died during the floods, while four were listed as missing. He told a parliament session that 23 of those had drowned.

Opposition MPs today criticized the government’s report, and Balša Božović of the Democratic Party (DS) said his party maintained the stance that a special meeting should be held to discuss everything that had happened with experts and competent officials in local governments.

Božović also demanded that those who had drowned in the May floods be named, so as to avoid the possibility of any kind of speculation and guesswork.

The government’s report was adopted by a majority vote.


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