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Thousands flee Bosnia landslides and floods

By AP Reporter

Floodwaters triggered more than 2,000 landslides across much of the Balkans yesterday, laying waste to entire towns and villages and disturbing landmines left over from the region's 1990s war.

The Balkans' worst flooding since record-keeping began forced tens of thousands of people from their homes and threatened to inundate Serbia's main power plant, which supplies electricity to a third of the country and most of the capital, Belgrade.

Authorities organised a frenzied helicopter airlift to get terrified families to safety before the water swallowed up their homes. Many were plucked from rooftops.

Floodwaters receded in some locations, laying bare the full scale of the damage. Elsewhere, authorities warned that the water would keep rising into tonight.

"The situation is catastrophic," said Bosnia's refugee minister, Adil Osmanovic.

Three months' worth of rain fell on the region in three days, producing the worst floods since rainfall measurements began 120 years ago. At least two dozen people have died, with more casualties expected.

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