At least 20 dead in flooding in Macedonia’s capital Skopje
At least 20 people died, 22 were injured and more than 1000 had to be rescued as violents storms brought flooding to the Republic of Macedonia’s capital Skopje.
The city was hit by rainstorms accompanied by strong winds of more than 70 km/h.
Most of the dead were children and the elderly, reports from the city said.
Streets were flooded, hundreds of trees brought down and many people were stranded in their vehicles in the inundated streets of the city.
Many homes on the northern outskirts of Skopje, as well as in the centre of the Macedonian capital city, were underwater following the deluge on the night of August 6.
The country’s military was deployed to erect barriers along several rivers to protect the population.
In the village of Staykovtsi, dozens of houses were flooded and cars overturned by raging floodwaters.
The rain stopped on the morning of August 7 but further rainfall was expected in the evening.
Authorities warned of health risks because of the floods in Macedonia, and called on people to not drink tap water but only water from sealed bottles. Care also should be taken with the consumption of food, such as vegetables from gardens that may be contaminated by floodwater, authorities said.
Macedonia’s government declared August 8 a day of mourning. The families of victims will receive a 3000 euro lump sum compensation payment.
Macedonian health minister Nikola Todorov said that a 15-day state of emergency would be in effect in Skopje and Tetovo.
Sofia municipality sent two safety and emergency unit teams from the Bulgarian capital city to assist in Skopje’s relief efforts, the office of Sofia mayor Yordanka Fandukova said after Fandukova spoke on the phone with her Macedonian counterpart.
The Red Cross was also assisting in efforts to aid people affected by the floods.
Croatia also was hit by bad weather, with strong winds leading to serious traffic disruptions. A highway linking the capital city Zagreb to the southern coast was closed.