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Thousands Flee, 25 Die in Record Balkan Floods

Updated: 05/18/2014 7:57 AM
Created: 05/17/2014 7:29 AM WDIO.com

SARAJEVO, Bosnia (AP) — Officials say landslides triggered by record-high floods have left hundreds of people homeless in Bosnia, while thousands more are fleeing their homes in Croatia and Serbia as Balkan countries battle the region's worst flooding in recorded history.

Throughout hilly Bosnia, floods caused by four days of heavy rainfall last week are triggering landslides covering roads, homes and whole villages. Bosnia's refugee minister, Adil Osmanovic, said Sunday that the country is facing catastrophe.

In the east of neighboring Croatia, two people are missing and hundreds have fled their homes as the Sava River breached flood barriers. In Serbia, more than 20,000 people have been forced from their homes. Officials there fear more flooding later Sunday as rivers swell at high tide.

At least 25 people have died in the Balkan floods.

Bosnia floods create new land-mine risk in Balkans

Another deadly menace is hiding in the flood rubble: land mines.

Authorities have spent two decades trying to unearth the 1 million land mines planted during Bosnia's 1992-95 war. Before the floods, nearly 120,000 remained in 9,416 marked minefields.

Then floods washed away river banks and fueled landslides that have unearthed minefield warning signs and, in many cases, the unexploded booby traps themselves.

Officials at Bosnia's Mine Action Center say their agency will deploy mine-hunting scouts starting Monday and report that mines already are appearing in unexpected places. They fear that some could float all the way to the Black Sea.

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

People build a dam made up of sandbags by the bank of the Sava river in Sremska Mitrovica, 90 kilometers west of Belgrade, Serbia, Saturday.
AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic

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