Croatia and Bosnia – Emergency Declared as Rivers Rise

The same weather system that caused flooding and landslides in northern Italy has also affected parts of Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Flooding in Bosnia, May 2019. Photo: Federalna Uprava Civilne Zaštite


Strong winds of up to 70 km/h (43 mph) in Zagreb, capital of Croatia on 12 May, 2019, damaged buildings, downed trees and power lines. Firefighters said they responded to more than 300 interventions. Four people were injured.

Heavy rain in the country caused rivers to rise rapidly. Croatia Water (Hrvatske vode) figures show, that, as of 15 May, the Una river at Hrvatska Kostajnica (4.64 metres) and Korana at Karlovac (7.87m) are both at red alert levels. Meanwhile the Sava river at Jasenovac (8.05 m) is at orange alert stage.

Civil Protection have raised flood defences in Hrvatska Kostajnica and Karlovac. Local media said fire services have been called on to rescue several people from flood waters.

Bosnia and Herzegovina

After a period of heavy rain from 12 May, 2019, swollen rivers in neighbouring Bosnia and Herzegovina are also causing problems, in particular the Vrbas, Bosna, Sana, Una and Ušora rivers.

Bosnia’s Civil Protection Agency (Federalna Uprava Civilne Zaštite – FUCZ) said on 14 May that a state of natural disaster was declared in Sanski Most, Bosanska Krupa, Cazin, Kljuc, Banovići, Usori, Tešanj and Doboj Jug as result of “abundant precipitation.”

Hundreds of Civil Protection staff have been deployed to the worst affected areas, chiefly Sanski Most, Usora and Doboj Jug. Local media reported that military personnel have been deployed to Prijedor in Bosanska Krajina to shore up flood defences along the banks of the Sana river and its smaller tributary, the Milosevac river.

Houses and crops have been damaged in affected areas, and power and water supply severely disrupted. Flooding and landslides have blocked several roads and some schools have been closed.

Reuters and other media outlets reported that police were searching for a young boy who was feared drowned after he fell into a swollen stream in the village of Begov Han, near the central town of Zepce.

Rivers and Rainfall

Bosnia’s meteorology agency, Federalni hidrometeorološki zavod (FHMZ), said that 84 mm of rain fell in Bihać in 24 hours to early 13 May and a further 53 mm the next day. The city of Banja Luka recorded 49mm to 13 May and 62 mm the next day.

FHMZ reported that the Una river at Bihać reached 78cm on 14 May and the Sana at Sanski Most 4.23 metres. Both rivers have shown signs of falling over the last 24 hours.

Una River at Bihac, Bosnia, May 2019. Image: FHMZ
Sana River at Sanski Most, Bosnia, May 2019. Image; FHMZ