At its highest levels in a century, the Danube is proving dangerous – with the Serbian capital Belgrade now coming under threat. Flooding nearby has already forced hundreds to flee to safety. Some still battling the rising river claim government help is inadequate.
“Up to now, the state has practically forgotten us,” said one villager in Ritopek, 15 kilometres southeast of the capital. “All they did was bring a truckload of sand and dump it here.” A state of emergency has been declared in 10 regions of Serbia. Some parts of the capital are already under water. The head of Belgrade’s flood defence team says barriers have been reinforced. Fed by rain and melting snow, the Danube is putting thousands of people at risk, with Romania and Bulgaria also badly affected. Much of the region is still reeling from devastating floods last year which drowned scores of people as well as destroying homes, farmland and infrastructure worth hundreds of millions of euros. It is reported that in Romania, some people who were forced to flee last summer, have now seen their new homes destroyed. Controlled flooding is said to be bearing fruit by triggering lower water levels in places but that will be of little comfort to those who have lost everything.