Misery for the people of Rast: like many other villagers in southern Romania, they have had to spend the night in the open fields. As floodwaters destroyed their homes, they tried to salvage what they could of their possessions, and set up improvised shelters. “We can’t take it any more,” one woman sobbed. “We can’t sleep, we have nowhere to live. We’re lugging all our belongings around with us.”
Nearly five thousand Romanians have been evacuated and housed in schools and hospitals as well as in tents. More than 20,000 hectares of farmland are under water. “We had to leave everything at home,” one woman said. “All we have left is the clothes we’re wearing and what you can see in these bags.” Thousands more might have to leave their dwellings in the next few days if flooding continues – rain is forecast for Tuesday night and Wednesday.
The Danube has been swollen by heavy rain and melting snow following a harsh winter. The river reached its highest point in more than a century at the weekend, causing havoc in Romania, Bulgaria and Serbia. The Bulgarian president has been inspecting dykes and received a briefing on other measures taken to stem the floodwaters. Serbia is also still suffering from record-high water levels.