Wednesday, February 29, 2012

As temperatures rise, southeastern Europe prepares for flooding

Bojana Milovanovic and Svetla Dimitrova for Southeast European Times: As the Danube River -- the second longest in Europe -- quickly thaws after more than three weeks of snow and freezing temperatures, the dangers of flooding is a top concern for the Southeast European region.

On Monday (February 27th), a ship carrying 700 tonnes of corn sank and dozens of small boats are floating free in Romania's stretch of the Danube after an ice floe melted due to rising temperatures. Axinte Dragomir lives in the village of Vadu Rosca, in Vrancea County, which was devastated by floodwaters in 2005. "I witnessed a whole community tragedy seven years ago. Some of us have not been able to get over that yet; most of us lost their life's belongings overnight. If this happens again, it will probably mean the extinction of the whole community," he told SETimes.

...On Friday, representatives from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Croatia and Montenegro met in Banja Luka to discuss co-operation in the region for emergency situations. In a statement afterwards, Republika Srpska Prime Minister Aleksandar Dzombic said that the countries agreed to appoint a co-ordinator who would monitor activities in cases of floods and analyse the compatibility of the countries' flood-defence systems.

The UN is also on call for flood dangers. "While thousands of people remain snowbound from Serbia to Bulgaria, there are warning signs that destructive floods will add to the loss of life and economic assets, particularly in places where there is an absence of flood management infrastructure such as dams and dikes," the UN Secretary-General's special representative for disaster risk reduction, Margareta Wahlström, said.....

The frozen Danube (near Vienna, I think), February 15, 2012, shot by Karl Gruber, Wikimedia Commons, under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license

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