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Bosnia and Herzegovina

Serbia and Bosnia call for international help to rescue people from flooded areas after the worst flooding since modern records began.

Waters are now beginning to recede, but officials say dangers remain.

They say that the threat of landslides is an ever-present problem as are the difficulties caused by unexploded landmines in Bosnia and river surges.

Serbia’s main power plant is still at risk of flooding. Tens of thousands of people have fled their homes.

Bosnian Refugee Minister Adil Osmanovic described the flooding as “catastrophic”.

Officials say that three months’ worth of rain has fallen on the Balkans in recent days, producing the worst floods since rainfall measurements began 120 years ago.

At least 35 people have died – with more casualties expected.


Serbia and Bosnia call for international help to rescue people from flooded areas after the worst flooding since modern records began

Serbia and Bosnia call for international help to rescue people from flooded areas after the worst flooding since modern records began

A large international aid operation is underway, with rescue helicopters from the European Union, US and Russia evacuating people from affected areas.

Serbian PM Aleksandar Vucic said Serbia now needed further help, particularly deliveries of food, clothing and bottled water.

The rain caused more than 2,000 landslides in hilly Bosnia, officials say, enveloping roads, homes and whole villages.

Rescuers are urging people to go to the balconies or rooftops of their houses with bright fabric to make themselves visible.

The north-eastern part of Bosnia is reported to be especially badly affected, with houses, roads and rail lines submerged.

Officials say that about a million people – more than a quarter of the country’s population – live in the worst-affected areas.

The floods and landslides have raised fears about the estimated one million land mines planted during Bosnia’s 1992-95 war.

Nearly 120,000 of the unexploded devices remain in more than 9,400 carefully marked minefields, officials say.

But the weather dislodged warning signs and in many cases loosened the mines themselves.

The flooding and landslide threat in Serbia is equally serious, made worse by the constant threat of surging river levels.

Residents spent the weekend piling up sandbags in riverside towns – including Belgrade.

Serbia’s state-run EPS power company said crews were doing all they could to prevent further damage to the Tesla power plant.

Parts of the plant and a nearby mine that provides its fuel were underwater. Damage to the mine alone is estimated at more than $137 million.

Serbian tennis player Novak Djokovic has joined calls for help.

“Support and solidarity for my people in Serbia!” he wrote on Twitter.

Large parts of eastern Croatia are also underwater, with villages still cut off and hundreds forced to escape the flooded zone in boats and trucks.

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Serbia’s main power plant is being threatened by the worst floods in the Balkans for decades, officials say.

The River Sava has burst its banks in many areas and water levels are expected to peak later on Sunday.

At least 20 people have died in Serbia and Bosnia-Herzegovina after a month’s worth of rain fell in three days, and the death toll is expected to rise.

In Bosnia, landslides have buried houses and disturbed landmines laid during the war in the 1990s.

The floods are also affecting Croatia.

The River Sava has burst its banks in many areas and water levels are expected to peak

The River Sava has burst its banks in many areas and water levels are expected to peak

In Serbia, thousands of residents in Obrenovac were moved to safety after much of the town was inundated.

The town, south-west of the capital Belgrade, is home to the Nikola Tesla power plant, which supplies much of the country.

Serbian PM Aleksandar Vucic said that his government’s primary concern was to protect the power plant.

“We are doing all we can,” he said.

Thousands of volunteers have responded to the government’s appeal to build up flood defenses along the Sava.

Serbian tennis player Novak Djokovic also appealed for help.

“Support for everyone! Let’s help those in danger! Join the aid action!” he wrote on his Twitter account.

Officials have refused to give a death toll for Obrenovac until the floodwaters recede.

Almost one-third of Bosnia is under water. The north-east is worst affected, with houses, roads and railway lines submerged.

Bosnian Serb police chief Gojko Vasic said the situation had been particularly difficult in Doboj “because the flood waters acted as a tsunami, three to four metres high”, the Reuters news agency reported.

Bosnian Security Ministry spokesman Admir Malagic said that about one million people – more than a quarter of the country’s population – live in the affected area.

Chairman of the Bosnian three-man presidency Bakir Izetbegovic said that his country is facing a “horrible catastrophe”, the Associated Press reported.

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More than 20 people are feared dead in Bosnia-Herzegovina and Serbia after the worst floods in more than a century.

Tens of thousands of people have fled their homes as several months of rain fell in a few days and rivers burst their banks.

Landslides have buried houses in Bosnia and reports say as many as 16 people may have died.

An outer suburb of the Serb capital Belgrade has been inundated and eight people are reported to have drowned.

Bosnia-Herzegovina and Serbia have been hit by the worst floods in more than a century

Bosnia-Herzegovina and Serbia have been hit by the worst floods in more than a century

Serbian PM Aleksandar Vucic told reporters the first bodies had been recovered in Obrenovac, the worst-hit area to the south-west of the capital, and he feared more would be found.

But he said the number of deaths would not be made public until the waters had receded.

A new flood surge was expected on the Sava River late on Sunday, he said.

In some areas, flood waters reached the second floor of people’s homes.

“The flash floods woke my uncle at around 0330 so they went up to the first floor. Then they had to go to the third floor because all lower floors were flooded,” one resident from Obrenovac said.

Rescue workers have been working to bring thousands of stranded residents to safety and officials have also ordered the evacuation of another town, Baric, closer to Belgrade.

The Sava River has risen particularly high in the western town of Sabac, and volunteers have tried to shore up flood defenses there.

Rescue co-ordinator Predrag Maric appealed for food, water, and clothing to help those in need.

One of the worst-hit areas in Bosnia is the eastern town of Bijeljina where rescue teams are trying to transport 10,000 people to safety.

Among those who drowned were 10 people in the Bosnian Serb Republic, police told local media. Six bodies were found in the northern town of Doboj and there are fears that more people have lost their lives.

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Bosnia-Herzegovina protesters have set fire to government buildings as violent protests continue across the country for a third day.

Police have used rubber bullets and tear gas against protesters in the capital Sarajevo and the northern town of Tuzla.

Black smoke could be seen gushing from the presidency building in Sarajevo.

The protesters are unhappy about the lack of economic and political progress in the Balkan country.

About 40% of Bosnians are unemployed. The unrest is the worst since the end of the Bosnian war.

Bosnia-Herzegovina protesters have set fire to government buildings as violent protests continue across the country for a third day

Bosnia-Herzegovina protesters have set fire to government buildings as violent protests continue across the country for a third day

At least 100 people have been injured in Friday’s protests in the capital.

Sarajevo-based newspaper Dnevni Avaaz says that police used water to disperse protesters who were throwing stones at the presidency building.

On Thursday, clashes between police and demonstrators in Tuzla injured more than 130 people, mostly police officers.

The unrest began in Tuzla earlier in the week, with protests over the closure and sale of factories which had employed most of the local population.

Demonstrators in other towns, including Mostar, Zenica and Bihac, supported the Tuzla workers and criticized the government for failing to tackle the rampant unemployment.

Hundreds of people also gathered in support in the Bosnian Serb capital, Banja Luka.

Local media are reporting that the premiers of two of Bosnia’s cantons – Sead Causevic of Tuzla canton and Munib Husejnagic of Zenica-Doboj canton – are to resign.

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Former Bosnian Serb army chief Ratko Mladic has refused to testify after former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic called him as a defense witness at his war crimes trial at The Hague.

It was the first time Ratko Mladic and Radovan Karadzic had appeared together in public since the end of the 1990s war in Bosnia.

Denouncing the UN Yugoslav war crimes tribunal as “satanic”, Ratko Mladic said testifying could harm his own case.

Both men deny charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity.

In his case, Radovan Karadzic faces 11 charges, including genocide relating to the Srebrenica massacre in July 1995.

At Tuesday’s hearing, Radovan Karadzic’s lawyer argued that Ratko Mladic was “the one person in the whole world who knows best what happened in the war in Bosnia” and that Karadzic was asking him to do his best to testify and to tell what had occurred.

Ratko Mladic initially refused to take the oath, saying: “Your subpoenas, your platitudes, your false indictments, I do not care one bit about any of it.”

He added: “I do not recognize this hate court. It is a satanic court.”

The judge warned him he could be held in contempt, with a possible jail term of up to seven years.

The session was then adjourned, apparently so Ratko Mladic’s dentures could be retrieved from his cell.

Ratko Mladic has refused to testify after Radovan Karadzic called him as a defense witness at his war crimes trial at The Hague

Ratko Mladic has refused to testify after Radovan Karadzic called him as a defense witness at his war crimes trial at The Hague

On the court’s return, the judge advised Ratko Mladic he was not obliged to answer questions if he thought the answers would incriminate him.

Radovan Karadzic then addressed Ratko Mladic in person, saying: “Good morning general, sir.”

Ratko Mladic did answer Radovan Karadzic’s first question – listing the posts and dates of his military career.

But following the second question – Did you ever inform me that prisoners from Srebrenica would be, were being or had been executed? – Ratko Mladic said: “I refuse to testify on the grounds of my health and because it may prejudice my rights as an accused.”

Lawyers representing Ratko Mladic say he suffers from a memory disorder that makes it hard for him to differentiate between truth and fiction.

The judge ruled Ratko Mladic would not be compelled to answer.

Radovan Karadzic read out his remaining questions, but received the same reply.

Ratko Mladic again asked if he could read out a seven-page statement but was refused. He denounced the court again as the session was adjourned.

Radovan Karadzic had been hoping his former ally’s answers would support his claims that the orders to commit war crimes did not come from him.

The key charges facing Radovan Karadzic relate to Sarajevo and Srebrenica.

The siege of Sarajevo lasted for more than three-and-a-half years – starving the capital of food and power.

Radovan Karadzic is alleged to have orchestrated the shelling of Sarajevo, and the use of 284 UN peacekeepers as human shields in May and June 1995.

In the Srebrenica enclave, Bosnian Serb forces overran the UN-defended safe area in the worst atrocity in Europe since the end of World War Two.

More than 7,500 Muslim men and boys were killed.

Ratko Mladic was the general in charge of the troops.

His trial is being conducted simultaneously at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY).

Radovan Karadzic was arrested in Belgrade in 2008 after 13 years on the run.

He had been found living in disguise in Belgrade, under a false name and working as a New Age healer.

Ratko Mladic was on the run for 16 years before being arrested in 2011 in northern Serbia, where he had also been living under an assumed name.

When Bosnia-Hercegovina became an independent state in 1992, Radovan Karadzic declared the creation of the independent Serbian Republic of Bosnia and Hercegovina (renamed Republika Srpska) with its capital in Pale, a suburb of Sarajevo, and himself as head of state.

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