22 July 2023

Three killed in Serbia as second deadly storm hits Balkans

22 July 2023

A 12-year-old boy, a man removing power cables and a woman have died in Serbia during another deadly storm that ripped through the Balkans this week, local media said.

The storm on Friday first swept through Slovenia, moving on to Croatia and then Serbia and Bosnia, blowing gusts of wind and heavy rain.

Authorities reported power cuts as well as extensive damage – including fallen trees – that destroyed cars and rooftops.

On Wednesday, another storm killed six people in the region, four in Croatia, one in Slovenia and another in Bosnia.

Meteorologists said the storms had been especially powerful because they followed a string of extremely hot days.

Experts say extreme weather conditions are likely fuelled by climate change.

In the northern Serbian city of Novi Sad, the 12-year-old was found dead in the street during the storm but it remains unclear whether he was struck by lightning or was electrocuted, said the official RTS television.

Local media say Novi Sad was hit the hardest, with the storm damaging the roof of the city’s exhibition hall. Some 30 people have sought medical help and many streets remain blocked on Saturday morning.

In the village of Kovacica, in north-eastern Serbia, a woman died from smoke inhalation after a fire erupted when lightning hit a tree by her house, the RTS said.

According to Serbian police, a man died in the north-west town of Backa Palanka after he tried to remove power cables that fell on his house gate.

Serbian police are yet to issue an official statement about the extent of damage the storm caused.

In Croatia, the storm wreaked havoc in various parts of the country, as authorities were already scrambling to control the damage left by Wednesday’s storm.

“We work night and day, no stopping,” Nermin Brezovcanin, a construction worker in the capital Zagreb, told the official HRT TV.

Several people were injured in a tourist campsite in the northern Istria peninsula packed with visitors from abroad during summer. Croatia’s Adriatic Sea coastline and islands attract millions of tourists each summer.

Slovenia says storms have also hugely damaged forests in the Alpine nation and warned of potential flash floods.

Elsewhere in Europe, a continuing heat wave caused wildfires and public health warnings.

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