Southern Europe Floods Update – Evacuations in Macedonia and Turkey


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The heavy rain that swept across southern Europe over the last few days has left 100,000 people in the Republic of Macedonia affected by flooding.

The worst affected areas are the southern, southeastern, southwestern, and central parts of the country. Agricultural land, electrical infrastructure, roads, and a large number of homes have been severely affected.

Widespread flooding in in Macedonia. Канал Блато и Стара Река | Blato Channel and Old River [02.02.15] , Krivogaštani Municipality is a municipality in western Republic of Macedonia. Photo copyright: Strshlen
Widespread flooding in in Macedonia. Канал Блато и Стара Река | Blato Channel and Old River [02.02.15] , Krivogaštani Municipality is a municipality in western Republic of Macedonia. Photo copyright: Strshlen used with permission
As local government officials work to mitigate the immediate damage, World Health Organisation experts are working closely with the national health authorities to determine the support the country needs.

In a statement today, WHO said:

WHO/Europe has joined national disaster response officials in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia to respond to the floods that have affected a large population of the country. Experts from WHO and national authorities took stock of the situation at a crisis operations meeting in Kocani city, located in the eastern part of the country.

Albania, Bulgaria and Greece, as well as Macedonia have all been affected by the flooding, which first struck over the weekend of 31 January 2015.

Turkey

There are also some reports that flooding has now affected parts of Turkey. The northwestern city of Edirne has been experiencing record-high flood levels from the Tunca and Meriç Rivers, causing the Provincial Crisis Center to order the evacuations. Around 1,500 people were evacuated from Karaağaç and the village of Değirmen has been completely evacuated, according to this report.

Greece

The regions of Arta (Epirus) and Evritania (Central Greece) are the worst affected. A State of Emergency has been declared in Epirus and Evritania. Some landslides have been reported in the area of Nafpaktos. The river Evros is also reported as overflowing in East Macedonia and Thrace.

Bulgaria

A state of emergency was declared in the municipalities of Smolyan, Devin, Dalgopol, Avren, Topolovgrad, Strazhitsa, Bolyarovo and Burgas.

Four people have been killed – 2 in Blagoevgrad district and 2 in Devin. One person remains missing in Petrich.

Albania

The counties of Fier and Vlore are thought to be the worst affected. Some reports claim around 1,700 homes have been flooded, most of them (1,200) in Fier.

In a statement on the current flood situation in Albani, the WHO said today:

Three districts in southern Albania have been washed out overnight after heavy rains caused the rivers Vjosa, Gjanica, and Osumthe to overflow. WHO is on standby to offer possible support to national health authorities as the situation unfolds.

Although no casualties have been reported, many areas are affected by damage to road infrastructure and electrical outages. Several cities and villages have been cut off from land transport entirely, and the state police have issued a public appeal for all citizens to refrain from travel to the southern part of the country.

The northern part of Albania near the border with Kosovo has also been inundated with heavy snowfall, cutting off electricity to the city of Kukes and surrounding villages and making road travel extremely hazardous. Although the National Emergency Committee has not yet issued a statement regarding the situation, the Ministry of Agriculture is keeping a close eye on the region on behalf of the government.