Croatia, Serbia, Romania control high Danube water levels


Regional countries co-operate to control flooding caused by the Danube River.

By Kruno Kartus, Igor Jovanovic, Paul Ciocoiu for Southeast European Times in Osijek, Belgrade and Bucharest -- 08/07/13


Vojvodina's Beocin municipality incurred significant damage from the recent flooding. [Nikola Barbutov/SETimes]

As the Danube River water levels begin receding from all-time highs in several Balkan countries, authorities in Croatia, Serbia and Romania cite their co-operative efforts in keeping the threat of flooding at bay.

"On the European level, monitoring the risks and the ongoing emergency situations on the Danube, the permanent exchange of information among the countries [involved] is ensured by the Emergency Response Centre within the European Commission directorate General for Humanitarian Aid and Civil protection," Marian Dragne, deputy commander of the Romanian General Inspectorate for emergencies, told SETimes.

In Croatia, 138 kilometres of the Danube were declared a flood emergency because the water level surpassed 7.7 metres. Authorities and citizens left nothing to chance, remembering the 1965 flood when the Danube poured into surrounding villages and cities and caused significant property damage as water levels reached 7.76 metres.

In Romania, authorities issued a seven-day yellow code flood alert, the first of the three-stage warning along four Danube riparian counties, an area that is entirely embanked.

Many people in the region were forced to evacuate their homes as part of the flood control plan.

"The situation is serious, but I'm especially glad that all segments of the flood control system united quickly and functionally," Croatia President Ivo Josipovic said during a visit to Vukovar.

Vojvodina's Beocin municipality, near Novi Sad, evacuated smaller settlements. The citizens, with assistance from municipal and state services, salvaged household items, machines, cattle, temporarily finding shelter in homes of relatives.

"Everything went well, the evacuation was as planned," Radomir Lazic, the chief of Beocin's headquarters for emergency situations, said.

Citizens and military troops joined to shore up the banks of the river to prevent damage.

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More than 30,000 sandbags were laid down and 41,000 were kept in reserve in Vukovar. More than 1,000 Croatian army soldiers, volunteers, professional fire department crews, police and civil protection experts helped to construct the temporary dams.

Tens of kilometres of levees were repaired and fortified in Serbia, and services, citizens and the army were on alert.

Vojvodina President Bojan Pajtic said the provincial government secured an additional 180,000 euros to combat floods.

What is the worst flood you’ve seen? Share your experiences in the comments section.

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