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Thousands threatened by worsening floods in Europe: Red Cross

IFRC has warned that tens of thousands of people across the Balkans and Eastern Europe could be at risk from flooding | Timothy Swinson

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) has warned that tens of thousands of people across the Balkans and Eastern Europe could be at risk from flooding as extreme weather is set to worsen this week.

According to the IFRC website, a sudden rise in temperature has made snow and ice thaw rapidly; swelling rivers and lakes, and combined with heavy rain it has caused serious flooding across Europe.

Countries that witness this flooding are basically Albania, Bulgaria, Croatia, Serbia, Hungary, Montenegro and Romania.

Moving on to Eastern Europe, the IFRC said that Belarus was the hardest hit with more than 50,000 people affected and hundreds of homes submerged. Also in the East, Kazakhstan has seen a lot of flooding and damage.

Hundreds of Red Cross and Red Crescent volunteers have been helping with evacuations and providing emergency supplies like food and drinking water for thousands of people in flood-hit towns and villages. 

According to IFRC website, its Regional Director for Europe, Simon Missiri, said “Given the forecast for the next few days and weeks, we’re expecting tough times ahead that could put thousands more people in danger.

He went on to add that “Thousands of people have already seen homes swamped with water and villages have been completely cut off in some cases.”

Missiri further added “We have already seen weather patterns change rapidly – from snow and freezing temperatures to heavy rain and rapidly melting ice, within the space of a few days.  This looks set to continue.”

Croatia has been among the hardest hit by floods so far with heavy rain causing seven landslides in the last two weeks which wiped out homes and left roads blocked.  More than 200 Croatian Red Cross volunteers and staff have been responding, with specialist boat teams also sent to villages left marooned.