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Heavy snowfall wreaks havoc in Serbia and much of Balkans

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By AP
Cars on the street during snow storm in Belgrade, Serbia, Sunday, Dec. 12, 2021.
Cars on the street during snow storm in Belgrade, Serbia, Sunday, Dec. 12, 2021.   -   Copyright  AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic

Heavy snowfall wreaked havoc in much of the Balkans on Sunday, disrupting public transportation.

Flights were cancelled at Serbia's main airport in Belgrade on Sunday and many areas reported power cuts and damage to buildings.

Much of western Serbia was without electricity as authorities warned against unnecessary travel and appealed to people in Serbia to conserve power.

There was some damage to cars and buildings in Belgrade due to the snow.

Several flights from and to Belgrade’s main airport were cancelled because of the weather conditions and a brief power cut to the main terminal, Belgrade media reported.

A highway leading to the airport was closed for several hours because of a traffic jam caused by the snowfall.

Passengers on a local train to Belgrade were stuck in snow for seven hours before they were provided bus transportation to the capital

Emergency services have been assisting authorities in the cleanup operation, while another alert for more snow and ice has been issued.

Meanwhile, in Bulgaria, heavy rains and major floods have been ravaging southern parts of the country over the weekend, forcing authorities there to declare a state of emergency.

The worst-hit areas were in the Smolyan region, near the border with Greece, where rivers burst their banks to cause the overflowing of roads and the flooding of homes. Several trucks were trapped in a landslide on an intercity road.

Strong winds disrupted power supply in dozens of villages, authorities said.

Further south in Albania, authorities mobilised police, army and emergency forces to cope with floods following three days of continuous rainfall and snow.

The Vjosa River in the south flooded many areas. An older couple who had stayed overnight on the rooftop of their house in southwest Albania was rescued by police in the morning.

Many roads were temporarily blocked by landslides in the south. Elsewhere in the northeast and southeast of the country, heavy snow has hampered or temporarily blocked traffic.