Six killed in floods from heavy rains in Balkans

SKODER, Albania—Torrential rains in the Balkans over the past two days have caused flooding, killing at least six people, prompting widespread evacuations and causing significant damage, officials said Monday.

One of the most affected areas was northwestern Albania, where thousands of acres of farmland and hundreds of homes were flooded. Authorities evacuated many families during the blackout.

Early Monday morning, police divers found the bodies of two missing men, a father and son whose car was washed away on Sunday, in the village of Bohe, about 150 kilometers (90 miles) north of the capital Tirana.

Four people died over the weekend as some rivers in Montenegro and Serbia swelled. A woman and her two children drowned in Montenegro after their car plunged into a river while trying to cross a bridge. In southern Serbia, a two-year-old boy fell into a river and drowned.

Authorities in the southern Serbian region of Raska have declared a state of emergency due to heavy flooding, and the military has been deployed to help evacuate locals and deliver drinking water and food.

Torrential rains of up to 400 millimeters (14 inches) in 12 hours on Sunday flooded Albania’s longest river, the Drini, by at least 10 centimeters (4 inches), authorities said.

At least 3,000 hectares (7,500 acres) of agricultural land were inundated in the Shkoder and Leger districts, about 100 kilometers (60 miles) northwest of Tirana.

Hundreds of troops were sent to evacuate families after more than 600 homes were flooded.

“Skoder is currently isolated from the rest of the country,” said Mayor Bardo Spahia.

Farmers who were repeatedly flooded in the post-communist era expressed despair at their losses, including livestock, and asked the government for help.

“The flood damage is so serious that we need government assistance,” said Lina Zefi, 60, from Kuc village, less than 10 kilometers (6 miles) from Shkoder.

The historic 18th-century Reid Mosque in Shkoder was also submerged following past flood damage.

The floods also affected areas in western Kosovo, causing some damage to buildings and school closures, but no casualties have been reported.

By Erion Xhabafti and Llazar Semini

Associated Press