Serbia – Floods Leave 2 Missing, Dozens Evacuated

Days of heavy rain caused rivers to overflow in southwestern Serbia, where 2 people are missing and dozens have been displaced. Flooding has also been reported in other countries in the region, including Kosovo and Albania.

Temporary flood defences in Novi Pazar, Serbia, 19 January 2023. Photo: Ministry of Interior, Serbia


A state of emergency was declared in the municipalities of Prijepolje, Sjenica, Novi Pazar, Brus, Tutin, Kuršumlija and Prokuplje in Serbia after flooding that began on 18 January 2023.

On 19 January, Minister of Defence Milos Vucevic said that Serbian Army members are on the ground and that all the capacities of the Army have been placed at the disposal of affected communities. Minister of the Interior Bratislav Gasic visited some of the flooded areas.

Serbian police reported at least 84 people had evacuated their homes because of the flooding, including 5 in Novi Pazar, 9 in Sjenica, 30 in Prijepolje, 24 in Priboj and 16 in Brus. Water pumps and temporary flood defences were deployed in affected areas, the Ministry of Interior said.

Heavy rain caused the Grabovica River to break its banks in Sjenica, with some residents evacuated on 18 January 2023. Buildings were damaged by flooding from the Lim river in Brodarevo. A state of emergency was declared in Kuršumlija and Prokuplje after flooding from the Toplica river.

The Graševačka and Rasina rivers overflowed in the municipality of Brus, prompting officials to declare a state of emergency.

In Novi Pazar, the Raska and Trnavica rivers both broke their banks. Emergency teams were searching for 2 people who were missing after being swept away by floods while attempting to protect their homes. Minister of the Interior Bratislav Gasic said 6 specialist rescue teams are currently searching for the 2 missing people.

The Republic Hydrometeorological Service of Serbia (RHMZ) issued warnings of heavy rain in the region on 15 January, with as 150 mm of rain expected in some areas of southern Serbia, Bosnia, Kosovo and Montenegro from 17 to 18 January. RHMZ warned that flooding is likely to continue on the Sava river at Šabac and the Nera river near Kusic until 21 January.

Kosovo, Albania, Bosnia and Montenegro

Heavy rain has also caused flooding in Kosovo, Albania, Bosnia and Montenegro.

In northern Kosovo, authorities said parts of the town of Mitrovica have been flooded, forcing 120 families to evacuate their homes. Vehicles were left stranded after streets were flooded in the town of Skenderaj where local authorities declared a state of emergency. Local media also reported flooding in Vushtrria, Peja and Decan. Drinking water supply has been interrupted in several areas including the capital Pristina.

The Hydrometeorological Institute of Kosovo said, “As a result of the rain during the last few days, especially in the western, northwestern and northern parts of Kosovo, some rivers have presented rapid floods, which may have caused difficulties and problems, such as landslides, blockage of sewers and traffic difficulties, but also flooding of agricultural lands.”

In Albania, wide areas of agricultural land were underwater in Shkodër County. The Ministry of Defence, which is in charge of Albania’s civil protection, said the Buna river flooded around 275 hectares of farmland in Muriqan and Oblikë. Landslides in the country have caused traffic problems. Local media also reported flooding blocked roads in parts of the Lezhë district.

Heavy rain caused rivers to overflow in northern Montenegro, where landslides were also reported. River levels are high in Bosnia but as of 19 January, no major incidents were reported by the Federal Administration of Civil Protection.