Bosnia and Herzegovina – Flooding Rivers Damage Homes and Impact Livelihoods

Heavy rainfall and elevated river levels in the Una and Sana basins have resulted in widespread flooding across various regions of Bosnia and Herzegovina over the last few days.

Floods in Bosanska Krupa, Bosnia and Herzegovina, May 2023. Photo: Government of Bosanska Krupa

According to reports from the Red Cross, approximately 10,000 individuals have been affected by the flooding, with 10 people displaced and 10 others sustaining injuries. The municipalities of Novi Grad, Prijedor, Kostajnica, Bihac, Bužim, Sanski Most, Cazin, Velika Kladuša, Kluč, and Bosanska Krupa have been particularly impacted by the deluge.

The Federal Hydrometeorological Institute of the country has indicated that the Una River surpassed the danger mark in the areas of Martin Brod and Bihać. Similarly, the Sana River reached hazardous levels in Vrhpolje and Sanski Most. Furthermore, the Bosna River at Zenica has exceeded the danger mark, exacerbating the flooding situation.

Rivers at or above the danger mark in Bosnia, as of 18 may 2023. Image: Federal Hydrometeorological Institute

Numerous homes have been inundated in the Una-Sana Canton, with Sanski Most experiencing significant damage, resulting in local officials declaring a state of emergency. In Sanski Most alone, 15 houses have been flooded, leading to the displacement of residents and an urgent need for assistance.

Reports from local authorities also highlight the extensive impact of the floods in Bosanska Krupa, where approximately 800 buildings have been flooded. Local authorities said the Una river at Boanska Krupa reached record levels on 17 May.

“The situation is never more difficult. We are doing what we can. Last night we had over a hundred people engaged to help people. It was mostly about the embankment, bags, protection against water intrusion into households, relocation of people who were threatened by rising water, and the like. We have our forces which are substantial and well equipped, however this exceeds the material and human capacities we currently have. The water level of the Una is 20 cm higher than it has ever been recorded before, and it is raining and we expect this evening that the water level will rise even more,” Bosanska Krupa Mayor Armin Halitović said.

Floods in Bosanska Krupa, Bosnia and Herzegovina, May 2023. Photo: Government of Bosanska Krupa