Historic flooding in Bosnia triggers more than 3,000 landslides, unearths unexploded mines

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Associated Press

Posted on May 18, 2014 at 10:10 PM

BRCKO, Bosnia-Herzegovina (AP) — Floodwaters have triggered more than 3,000 landslides across the Balkans.

Three months' worth of rain fell on the region in three days, producing the worst floods since rainfall measurements began 120 years ago. At least two dozen people have died, with more casualties expected.

Tens of thousands of people have been forced from their homes and floodwaters are threatening to inundate Serbia's main power plant, which supplies electricity to a third of the country and most of the capital, Belgrade.

The waters receded in some locations Sunday, revealing the full scale of the damage. But emergency officials warn that the water will keep rising in other locations.

Bosnia's refugee minister describes the situation as "catastrophic."

The landslides have laid waste to entire towns and villages. They've also disturbed land mines leftover from the region's 1990s war and washed away warning signs that marked the locations of the unexploded weapons.

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099-a-07-(Bakir Izetbegovic (bah-KEER' ihz-eht-BEH'-goh-vihch), chairman, Bosnian three-man presidency, in AP interview)-"a horrible catastrophe"-Bakir Izetbegovic, chairman of Bosnia's three-way presidency, says Bosnia has seen worse having endured war two decades ago. (18 May 2014)

<<CUT *099 (05/18/14)££ 00:07 "a horrible catastrophe"

100-a-11-(Bakir Izetbegovic (bah-KEER' ihz-eht-BEH'-goh-vihch), chairman, Bosnian three-man presidency, in AP interview)-"passed worse things"-Bakir Izetbegovic, chairman of Bosnia's three-way presidency, says 20 years after war, the flooding is another test of the Bosnian people. (18 May 2014)

<<CUT *100 (05/18/14)££ 00:11 "passed worse things"

103-a-05-(Ognjen Pribicevic (AWG'-nehn prih-BEE'-seh-vihch), Serbian ambassador to U.K., in interview)-"for the help"-Ognjen Pribicevic, Serbia's ambassador to the U.K., says Serbia needs international assistance to handle the effects of the flooding. COURTESY: Sky News ((mandatory on-air credit)) (18 May 2014)

<<CUT *103 (05/18/14)££ 00:05 "for the help"

102-r-23-(Sound of Pope Francis, speaking in Italian, in St. Peter's Square)--Sound of Pope Francis saying in Italian he has a "personal closeness to people who are living through times of pain and trouble" in Serbia and Bosnia. (18 May 2014)

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101-r-21-(Sound of helicopter blades churning, on dry part of flooded plain where dozens of people gathered to await rescue)--Sound of a rescue helicopter landing on the sole dry area of a flooded plain where dozens of people had gathered to await help. (18 May 2014)

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APPHOTO XDMV118: A police vehicle drives through a flooded street in Obrenovac, some 30 kilometers (18 miles) southwest of Belgrade, Serbia, Sunday, May 18, 2014. In Serbia, more than 20,000 people have been forced from their homes. Officials there fear more flooding later Sunday as floodwaters travel down the Sava and reach the country. Serbian officials said that the flood wave might be lower than initially expected, because the river broke barriers upstream in Croatia and Bosnia. Experts said they expect Sava floodwaters to rise for two more days, then subside. (AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic) (18 May 2014)

<<APPHOTO XDMV118 (05/18/14)££

APPHOTO XDMV129: People paddle a boat through a flooded street in Obrenovac, some 30 kilometers (18 miles) southwest of Belgrade, Serbia, Sunday, May 18, 2014. Floodwaters triggered more than 2,000 landslides across much of the Balkans on Sunday, laying waste to entire towns and villages and disturbing land mines left over from the region's 1990s war, along with warning signs that marked the unexploded devices. (AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic) (18 May 2014)

<<APPHOTO XDMV129 (05/18/14)££

APPHOTO XDMV132: This image made available by the Serbian police shows the flooded area in Obrenovac, some 30 kilometers (18 miles) southwest of Belgrade, Serbia, Sunday, May 18, 2014. In Serbia, more than 20,000 people have been forced from their homes. Officials there fear more flooding later Sunday as floodwaters travel down the Sava and reach the country. Serbian officials said that the flood wave might be lower than initially expected, because the river broke barriers upstream in Croatia and Bosnia. Experts said they expect Sava floodwaters to rise for two more days, then subside. (AP Photo/Serbian Police) (18 May 2014)

<<APPHOTO XDMV132 (05/18/14)££

APPHOTO XDMV131: This image made available by the Serbian police shows the flooded area in Obrenovac, some 30 kilometers (18 miles) southwest of Belgrade, Serbia, Sunday, May 18, 2014. In Serbia, more than 20,000 people have been forced from their homes. Officials there fear more flooding later Sunday as floodwaters travel down the Sava and reach the country. Serbian officials said that the flood wave might be lower than initially expected, because the river broke barriers upstream in Croatia and Bosnia. Experts said they expect Sava floodwaters to rise for two more days, then subside. (AP Photo/Serbian Police) (18 May 2014)

<<APPHOTO XDMV131 (05/18/14)££

APPHOTO XAE107: Bosnian people are rescued from their flooded houses by boat in the village of Vidovice near Orasje 200 kms north of Sarajevo, on Sunday May 18, 2014. Packed into buses, boats and helicopters, carrying nothing but a handful of belongings, tens of thousands fled their homes in Bosnia and Serbia, seeking to escape the worst flooding in a century. (AP Photo/Amel Emric) (18 May 2014)

<<APPHOTO XAE107 (05/18/14)££

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