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State Of Emergency In Macedonian Capital After Flash Floods

  • RFE/RL

Skopje's mayor has described the flooding in and around the city as a "disaster".

Skopje's mayor has described the flooding in and around the city as a "disaster".

Macedonia's government has declared a state of emergency in the capital after violent storms caused flash flooding that killed at least 20 and injured hundreds.

Skopje Mayor Koce Trajanovski described the damage as the worst the city has ever seen and Health Minister Nikola Todorov announced the updated death count on August 7.

Local media reported that the capital and surrounding suburbs were struck by winds of more than 70 kilometers per hour, and water reached levels of up to 1 1/2 meters in some areas.

The ring road surrounding the capital was reportedly heavily damaged.

WATCH: Clean-Up Begins After Macedonia Floods (RFE/RL's Balkan Service, natural sound)

Many witnesses described victims drowning after being trapped in their houses when torrents suddenly swept through the area.

Hundreds of homes and vehicles were destroyed by the floods, roads were impassable, and several areas were without electricity. Authorities said more than 1,000 people had been evacuated so far.

Disruptions created by the bad weather have created traffic backups, with many tourists trying to reach Croatia's coastal resorts along the Adriatic Sea.

With reporting by AFP and Reuters
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