BELGRADE, Serbia — Belgrade braced for a river surge Monday that threatened to inundate Serbia's main power plant and cause major power cuts in the crisis-stricken country as the Balkans struggle with the consequences of the worst flooding in southeastern Europe in more than a century.
At least 35 people have died in Serbia and Bosnia in the five days of flooding caused by unprecedented torrential rain, laying waste to entire towns and villages and sending tens of thousands of people out of their homes, authorities said.
But the death toll is expected to rise as floodwaters started to recede in some locations, laying bare the full scale of the damage after three months' worth of rain fell on the region in three days, producing the worst floods since rainfall measurements began 120 years ago.
Bosnian Foreign Minister Zlatko Lagumdzija compared the flood damage to the carnage during the 1990's war that killed at least 100,000 people and left millions homeless. He said about 100,000 houses, 230 schools and health institutions were destroyed in the floods in Bosnia and about a million people lack drinking water.
The damage is "immense," he said, adding: "the only difference from the war is that less people have died."