BELGRADE, Serbia (AP) — A woman has drowned and hundreds of people have been evacuated from their homes as floods caused by heavy rains gripped the Balkans Thursday, blocking roads and railway lines and closing down schools.
In Serbia, emergency measures have been declared throughout the country to battle the rising waters, which also caused landslides in many areas. Dozens of buses and cars have been stranded on blocked roads and two main north-south railway lines were cut, officials said.
Emergency official Predrag Maric said that more than 500 people have been evacuated from their homes so far, with evacuations continuing throughout the country. In some areas, special police and army troops stepped in.
"We have engaged all our manpower," Maric said. "Waters are rising everywhere."
Belgrade city authorities have shut down schools for Thursday and Friday. They say the average rainfall from a two-month period has fallen on the capital city in just 40 hours.
Firefighters say a woman in a suburban area of Belgrade drowned after she refused to be evacuated from her home. One of the main traffic arteries in downtown Belgrade has been blocked by water, officials said.
In neighboring Bosnia, heavy rainfall is also pushing rivers to critical levels, including in the capital Sarajevo, closing a downtown bridge and disrupting power supplies.
The rain is expected to persist until the weekend.