Worst Flooding in 120 Years Frees Balkan Land Mines

At least 37 dead in Balkans
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted May 19, 2014 2:33 AM CDT
Worst Flooding on Record Frees Bosnia Land Mines
This image made available by the Serbian police shows a flooded area around 18 miles south of Belgrade.   (AP Photo/Serbian Police)

The worst flooding in the Balkans since the region was part of the Ottoman Empire has killed at least 37 people, forced thousands from their homes, and sparked fears that land mines from the conflicts of the 1990s could claim more lives. In Bosnia, landslides have buried houses, loosened land mines, and paralyzed large areas, reports ABC. "We are asking people not to panic if they see a shell lurking from the ground," says an official at a de-mining center. There are believed to be more than 200,000 land mines still buried in Bosnia, and the floods have moved warning signs from some areas, the Independent reports.

In Serbia, the flooding is the worst since records began 120 years ago and authorities fear the death toll will rise sharply when waters subside and more bodies are found. Thousands of volunteers gathered in Belgrade to stack sandbags along the swollen Sava River. "What happened to us happens once in a thousand years, not hundred, but thousand," Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic told reporters. "We have managed to avoid the worst catastrophe thanks to good organization ... The end is not close, but today is much better than yesterday." (Read more Bosnia stories.)

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