Severe flooding kills at least 20 in Macedonia
Freak weather caused severe flooding in Macedonia and killed at least 20 people in its capital Skopje. The flooding was caused by a sudden and severe deluge followed by thunder and lightning storms. Several villages on the outskirts of the city were also severely hit and there has been immense property damage. Authorities are combing the areas for survivors or other victims.
Macedonia: Country profile
Macedonia is a landlocked Balkan nation in south-eastern Europe, bordered by Albania, Greece, Serbia, Kosovo and Bulgaria. The country is known for is beautiful landscape, picturesque mountains and pristine lakes. Its capital is Skopje with over 500,000 inhabitants. There are several well established automobile manufacturing companies in Macedonia, though a majority of the population live in conditions of poverty.
The Balkans and floods
In 2014, severe flooding and storms led to the deaths of over 47 people in Serbia and Bosnia. The floods also affected the daily lives of over 1.6 million people, rendering them homeless and severely hitting the economy. However Macedonia has not witnessed such catastrophic flooding since 1962, when the capital Skopje was inundated after days of heavy rain.
Details of the storm
The rain began late on Saturday evening according to officials. The storm brought winds with speeds of up to 70MPH, uprooting trees and causing severe damage to houses and infrastructure. Officials estimate that 93 litres of rain per square meter fell on Skopje in a span of 2 hours. The quantum of water led to landslides and flash floods.
The aftermath of the storm
The storm has so far claimed the lives of at least 20 people, and authorities are searching for more survivors or casualties. A majority of the deceased died after being trapped in their cars, which may have been caught in the flash floods. In several areas the water levels rose above 5 feet. The damage to property has not yet been estimated.
Government issues warnings to citizens
The government issued warnings to all citizens to avoid travelling by car as a majority of roads are still under water. In addition the country's meteorological department has also stated that more rain and heavy winds could be expected.