© Al Jazeera Balkans
Map of the affected Balkan regions.
Most of the Balkan region has been affected by floods of catastrophic proportions, which have so far claimed at least 20 lives. This figure is significantly higher according to some sources. The flooding has crippled Serbia and Bosnia, as well as Croatia as of yesterday. Tens of thousands of people have been evacuated and more then 250,000 homes remain without power. Most sources suggest this is "the biggest flood ever recorded in Balkan history".

According to the latest news, floods have claimed 12 lives in Bosnia and Herzegovina and 8 lives in Serbia. So far there are no fatalities in Croatia, but in certain regions the situation is becoming increasingly difficult.

Some sources report more precipitation in one day than in past 4 months. This has lead to many rivers flooding cities and settlements across the region.

Today in Croatia, the region of Slavonia is the most endangered. Una River has been rising by 6 cm per hour for more then 24 hours. Officials in the field report that the embankments will not be able to hold water for much longer.

Sava River has breached the ramparts on two sites, near Rajevo Village and Račinovci, and the evacuation of the civilians is ongoing. The Croatian Red Cross has appealed for help.

Agriculture minister Tihomir Jakovina said the level of the Sava River has now reached its record high since recording began.

The situation is extremely difficult in both Serbia and Bosnia-Herzegovina. Serbian media have reported a veritable cataclysm completely obliterating the village of Krupanj in what they call the biggest natural catastrophe to ever hit Serbia.

Preventive evacuation has begun in Sremska Mitrovica. An extremely difficult situation has been reported in Obrenovac, where the rescuers have begun to retrieve dead bodies from the water. Other critical areas in Serbia include Barič, Krupanj and Šabac.

News of increasing numbers of victims has arrived from Bosnia. Major Obren Petrović of Doboj has confirmed more then 20 fatalities in his municipality. He said that bodies have begun arriving at the Doboj hospital mortuary.

Local media inquired whether it is true that the whole family perished in one car, and he replied: "Yes, there have been cases like that. We fear more fatalities in the southern part of the city...We will know more tonight or tomorrow".

The situation is grave in Bijeljina, Prijedor, Bosanski Šamac, Brčko and the entire canton of Posavina. The embankments on Sava River have been breached near Bijeljina, and at least 10,000 people have had to be urgently evacuated.

People across the region are showing remarkable solidarity in the midst of this horrific tragedy that has struck most of the Balkans, often traveling across national borders to crisis areas in order to help save cities and people.

The magnitude of this natural disaster, still unfolding, is indeed frightening and the lack of reports about it in the world mainstream media comes as a big surprise. It seems the major world media still treat floods in Serbia, Bosnia and Croatia as "secondary" news.