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The worst floods in Serbia and Bosnia since records began

The worst floods in Serbia and Bosnia since records began

Belgrade, Serbia [Miroslav Pujić, tedNEWS; CD EUDNews]. Three months' worth of rain fell on the region in just a few days, causing rivers to burst their banks and sweep into people's homes in Serbia, Bosnia and Eastern Croatia. States of emergency have be

May 21, 2014 | Miroslav Pujić, tedNEWS; CD EUDNews;

Belgrade, Serbia [Miroslav Pujić, tedNEWS; CD EUDNews]. Three months' worth of rain fell on the region in just a few days, causing rivers to burst their banks and sweep into people's homes in Serbia, Bosnia and Eastern Croatia. States of emergency have been declared in parts of Bosnia and Serbia after the heaviest rain and worst floods since records began 120 years ago. Hundreds of thousands of people have had to be evacuated from areas close to the rivers. Around 3 million people have been directly affected.

Overflowing rivers have burst into towns and villages, cutting off whole communities, while 3,000 landslides have buried thousands of houses. Army helicopters and rescue teams have been sent to evacuate thousands of stranded residents but reports say bad weather is hampering the rescue efforts.

Some witnesses said that because the floodwaters acted as a tsunami, three to four meters high, no one was able to resist them. The report is that over 40 people died and the death toll is expected to rise as many people are still missing.

Members of the Seventh-day Adventist Church have been affected: Pastor Igor Bosnić, Communication Director, reports that 20 Adventist families have seen their homes destroyed and four church buildings have also been destroyed (Paraćin and Svilajnac in Serbia and Trnjaci and Doboj in Bosnia).

In the Doboj church, Bible Worker Josef Taši and his wife Marina ran to the second floor of the church building to escape the fast-rising water but the water reached them even there. They then escaped to the attic. At that moment they realised that their mobile phone batteries were flat and they couldn’t contact anyone. They were trapped from 11am until 7pm on Tuesday, May 15th. Guessing what had happened, the church leaders called the emergency centre, which sent a helicopter to rescue them. They heard the helicopter’s noise but were not aware that it had come for them so they didn’t go out on the roof. Finally a boat was sent to rescue them and they were evacuated. They lost all their possessions: furniture, clothes and a car.

In Šabac, twenty students and their professors from Belgrade Theological Seminary joined a group of 6,000 volunteers to build a shield with sand sacks to protect the city, reports Pastor Dragan Grujičić, Principal of the Seminary. During the night of 17 June, they built 23 kilometres of shield at the bank of the River Sava.

The youth of the Belgrade churches also joined volunteers to help in food distribution and fill up sacks with sand. According to Pastor Miroslav Gagić, the church members in Sremska Mitrovica had a short worship on Sabbath and then all the men went to work at the banks of the River Sava to help protect the city since the level of the water was rising very quickly. At the same time, the ladies of the church cooked food which was distributed to the volunteers.

ADRA Serbia and ADRA Croatia have initiated collection of food, drinking water and clothes for people who have had to leave their homes. “We have to help people in their difficult times. We should not forget them even once the water is gone,” says Pastor Zlatko Musija, the President of the Adventist Church in the Adriatic Union, which includes Croatia.

“I am deeply grateful to all people of good will who were willing to help us in this difficult situation, especially to the leadership of the Adriatic Union and ADRA Croatia and Slovenia. Special thanks go to the diaspora churches in Stuttgart, Germany and Chicago, USA. They sent the first aid for those people who are in great needs at the moment. Our diaspora churches from Australia and other countries expressed their willingness to help with whatever they can and we are sincerely thankful. We will make sure that all the help in goods and money will reach people who lost their possessions,” says Pastor Djordje Trajkovski, President of the South-East European Union which covers Serbia and Bosnia.

Please keep praying for those people who are suffering and those who have lost their loved ones. If you are willing to help rebuild destroyed churches and homes in this region and help people who are in need, please contact Steve Cooper, ADRA-TE Director, by email scooper@ted-adventist.org.

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